Botox and fillers business
CAIRO - 18 May 2018: Botox and fillers have become quite widespread over the past few years in women and men’s endless quest to maintain their youthful looks;
but with the market booming in demand and supply come skyrocketing prices.
The flotation and inflation rate over the past period have led to the doubling and tripling in prices of dermal fillers like Botox and hyaluronic acid (commonly known as fillers), with average Botox for two or three areas reaching around LE 2,000 to LE 4,000 and fillers costing patients LE 3,000 to LE 5,500 per syringe.
A typical patient often needs two to three of those, according to multiple experts interviewed. This means that a woman in her 40s who needs regular sessions (every six months) would easily pay LE 20,000 a year on the treatments, helping ease wrinkles and fine lines and add volume to sunken cheeks and eyes.
Although the jump in prices should have theoretically resulted in less patients, it seems
that more and more clients, accompanied by a rising number of doctors, are joining the
20-25% profit-margin-industry. Globally, the industry of dermal fillers is expected to grow
at an annual rate of 12.6% between 2016 and 2022, according to a study released by Market Research Future.
According to P&S Market Research, the industry of dermal fillers in the Middle East is estimated at $34.4 million in 2017 and is expected to generate revenue worth $67.7 million by 2023. In the UK alone, the market for non-surgical treatments like
dermal fillers is estimated at over £2.7 billion.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the industry is estimated at $10 billion and the number of women in the US between the ages of 19 and 34 receivindermal fillers has increased by 41% since 2011.
Despite an apparent increase of patients interested in dermal fillers over the past 10 years and the market’s current stabilization, the past five years have had ups and downs for the industry.
Business Today Egypt takes an in-depth look at the luxury industry that is becoming more and more widespread among varied consumer strata.
Dr. Karim W. Rafla, a leading expert i the field and a member of the Royal Colleges
of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (MRCS), a fellow of plastic surgery at the University of Alberta in Canada and fellow of plastic surgery at King’s College London explains that demand is no longer exclusive to a specific class.
“Demand is from diverse ages, and there is a thriving market. The market is no exclusive to the upper class and niche; a lot of people in the middle class and upper middle class do Botox and fillers, as well as other procedures like nose jobs and breast augmentation,” Rafla clarifies.
A growing market
The market has flourished over the past few years, according to Dr. Maha Gabr, a dermatology and aesthetic medicine specialist at a skin and cosmetic clinic.
“In the past, only those in their 40s and 50s would be interested in Botox and fillers, but this is not the case now,” Gabr says. “However, today, young people, sometimes as young as their 20s, get Botox.”
The advancing technology, limited risk, speed of the procedures and new techniques
have led patients to become more comfortable with these procedures.
Although technological advancements and globalization have fueled the uptick in demand, Gabr also believes that proper marketing, which has enabled people to understand the products and battle misconceptions that may have lurked due to old techniques, coupled with the non-permanent nature of the procedures, have convinced more people to undergo Botox and filler procedures.
Still, the market has not been without its ups and downs. Although the market was sluggish at times during the past five years, it has generally picked up, according to Rafla and Gabr. As all the products utilized in the procedure are imported from Europe and the US, the flotation has led to rising prices, and some of the patients have consequently decided to stop or decrease treatments.
“Some patients, not all, who used to undergo many procedures decided to decrease [the frequency of the session],” Rafla explains, adding that others who come from a certain financial background and who find the periodical injections “vital” still keep it a priority.
“We have a large market, however, a small portion of the population seeks to undergo these procedures [compared with the size of the population],” Rafla adds.
Looking away from Europe and America
The flotation has led Botox and filler prices to soar due to the declining value of the Egyptian pound compared with the US dollar, euro and British pound. Prior to floatation, fillers would cost LE 1,000 to LE 1,200 for the syringe; post-flotation, a syringe stands in the range of LE 3,000 to LE 5,500.
Rising injection prices occurred in parallel with a general rise in the prices of day-to-day
products, including essential commodities.This has led doctors in Egypt to move away
from European and American products, and toward the less-expensive Chinese and Indian products to avoid losing patients.
“They did not want to lose their patients because of rising prices; if they change their prices some of their patients might leave them. These doctors are not conscious-oriented. If you used to do Botox for LE 2,000 and then all the market raised it to LE 4,000, for example, but a doctor is still doing it for LE 2,000, then there is something wrong,” according to Rafla.
However, both Rafla and Gabr affirm that the best possible products need to be used to ensure the best results, and that using FDA-approved products administered by experienced doctors is key.
Speaking about the dangers of using products that may not be FDA-approved, Gabr
explains that the least complication that may arise is allergies. When Botox or filler injections are administered, explains Rafla, complications might happen, as is the case with any medical procedure.
However, he adds, choosing FDA-approved medication limits this risk, as they undergo lab trials and are tested before approved. Going a step further, Rafla suggests that it is not just about getting the FDAapproved medications, but also getting them through the proper channels to ensure that they are authentic and were stored properly.
“The patient could get an infection or it can be bad quality, like fillers won’t fill right
or the product won’t be coherent. Botox, for example, loses its potency completely if it is
stored in a temperature higher then 5 degrees Celsius; so if it is put in a car, it is destroyed.
These are brands that are FDA-approved but trafficked, we do not know the effects of those that are not FDA-approved; it could be anything because we do not know what is actually in them,” warns Rafla.
“We have to emphasize that this is a medical procedure, and you can [cause] a disaster if you use a cheap product and you think you are saving. But, you will be
treated for a year afterwards from whatever you get from a bad injections.”
However, the problem is not just the rising prices, according to Gabr, with trade restrictions and imposed taxes on imports; the supply has also become an issue as it is all imported.
“Things are now double the price, and even more than the double; sometimes it
is not even available. We have to accommodate for the fact that sometimes there is no stock, meaning that we have to order bigger stocks to ensure that we have enough for our patients, and that means that we have to pay a big down payment,” she explains.
Furthermore, according to the specialist, doctors sometimes face the problem of agreeing with patients on a specific price, only to find the needed stock available at higher prices and be forced to buy anyway because they’ve already agreed with
the patient. So on top of an increase in prices, the fluctuations in prices and unavailability of the products make the market unpredictable.