Seasoned InsightCity readers will undoubtedly remember that we ran a story in September 2017 titled “Gambling, drugs, and a smart lawyer” about how Allergan had transferred patents of its blockbuster eye drug (Restasis) to a Native American Indian tribe. Turns out we were (kind of) right. Seems the only ones benefiting from this tactic are the smart lawyers. It was probably their idea. Anywho, since September, Allergan has lost the patent fight and lost respect in the eyes (pun intended) of many industry watchers. One of the more colorful takes on the move came from Joe Nocera, a Bloomberg View columnist, who commented “…I can think of a few other words to describe the deal. Sleazy comes to mind. Also: sneaky, unscrupulous and just plain wrong.” Our favorite Tweet references an “own goal” against pharma. Creative? Sleazy? Let’s just call it Sleative and be done with it.
Teva’s been in the news a lot recently, so here’s a roundup to make sense of all of it. Going chronologically, first Teva announced it would be cutting 14,000 jobs company-wide—more than a quarter of its total workforce. The company still has a lot of debt after buying Allergan’s generics business, so they’re planning on a two-year company restructuring. Teva’s a huge deal in its home country of Israel, so this led to thousands of Israeli public sector workers striking last Sunday in solidarity with Teva workers. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu met with Teva’s new CEO Kare Schultz to try to convince him to leave the company’s Jerusalem plant out of their restructuring plan, but they’re planning to go through with it anyway.
If Albert Einstein was right and “creativity is intelligence having fun” then there is one happy lawyer at Allergan. Last week Allergan, using a move John Grisham would be proud of, transferred its patents on a best-selling eye drug (Restasis) to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in New York. The tribe will then lease the patents back to Allergan. Yep, you read that right. Not bad, first gambling, now patent laundering (you heard that phrase here first). Allergan will pay the tribe $13.75M upfront plus $15M annually as long as the patents remain valid. FYI, Restasis sales were $1.4 billion last year. Obviously, the Mohawk Tribe has no reservations about the transaction. If we are being honest, it’ll be kind of funny when Indian generics companies start suing Indian tribes.
Rosacea sufferers know how embarrassing it can be to have people always ask if they’re alright or if they’ve eaten something to make them break out. Allergan has recently begun a press tour for newly approved Rhofade to treat facial erythema, more commonly known as facial redness or rosacea. As is becoming the trend, Allergan has gone the route of a celebrity endorser. Actress and Tony Award winner Kristen Chenoweth is the literal face of their new campaign. Their slogan “Less Red, More You” makes us think about other times famous people’s faces have changed colors. On that note, do you think Donald Trump was born orange or is that a look he’s cultivated?
It’s official. Pharma marketing departments are now run by 8-year-olds. Two weeks ago, InsightCity reported on Synergy Pharmaceutical’s Poop Troop campaign. Now, Allergan is having fun with poo. They recently launched a new campaign called Toilet Talk to raise awareness of bowel issues—Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea, to be unnecessarily specific. Wendy Williams will be the face of the cringing campaign. “She’s very honest and candid. She also likes to joke around and see the humor in things,” said Aimee Lenar, VP, gastroenterology at Allergan. Well, that’s just great. I guess the days when men don’t manscape and ladies don’t poop are a thing of the past. What’s next? Poop-themed parties for little girls? As we always say sometimes, you can’t make this crap up.
It’s not uncommon for big brands to recruit celebrities to help humanize and sell products. Speaking of what’s common, Allergan has recruited the rapper, Common, to star in a video for their new campaign called SeeAmerica, which is designed to raise awareness and fight vision loss through preventative care and medicine. The drug maker, which produces glaucoma-fighting treatments Lumigan and Alphagan, hopes that the raised awareness will encourage people to take fighting vision loss more seriously. “I’m proud to join Allergan in the fight against preventable blindness,” said Common, “Sight is something that far too many of us take for granted.” Common, we see and agree.
Allergan. That’s who. Last week, Allergan announced its acquisition of Zeltiq and its flagship CoolSculpting system. CoolSculpting is the system you’ve see in ads. It cools fat cells underneath the skin, which then freeze and die, resulting in a whole new you! It’s almost like Allergan thinks we live in a society of increasing vanity. Add fat freezing to Allergan’s portfolio that already includes Botox, Kybella (injection to treat double chin), and other aesthetics and plastic surgery offerings and what do you get? A one-stop-shop for pulling off that sweet, sweet Joan Rivers look you’ve always wanted. Just kidding… Kind of…
For years, people have received Botox injections to look younger and feel better. There might be more to “feel better” than folks realized. According to Allergan R&D chief, David Nicholson, a recent Phase II investigator initiated trial for the drug is showing promise and, if replicable, will “be really valuable in psychotherapy.” Quick question: is the couch really where a person wants to receive an injection? Nicholson isn’t worried about that, stating, “I have no doubt in my mind the psychiatric community will embrace it and will start giving…injections.” Future ads might say, “let Botox turn that frown upside down.” But if nothing else, the frown will look more youthful.