Tuesday, August 11, 2009

FDA Cites Eyelash Lengthener as Progress in Drug Approval Process

Stung by criticism that drugs are not making it to the marketplace fast enough, the Food and Drug Administration on Monday cited the speedy approval of Latisse, a drug that leads to fuller, longer eyelashes.

The drug was originally sold as a glaucoma drug. But one of the side effects is that it leads to additional eyelash growth. In a release, the FDA noted its "swift action" in making available an "essential drug for the millions of women who suffer from overly short or thin eyelashes."

Allergan, the maker of Latisse as well as Botox, the wrinkle-reducing drug favored by celebrities and others seeking to remove evidence of aging past adolescence, echoed the FDA's sentiments. "No longer will that delicate area beneath the eye be unshaded from the sun," said Allergen president of research and development Sam Winters in a statement.

Although Botox lacks an official celebrity endorser, Brooke Shields has signed on to endorse Latisse.

Some skeptics have questioned the need for a drug whose primary purpose is cosmetic, undereye shade coverage notwithstanding. They cite drugs to fight cancer and AIDS as being more pressing medical priorities that the FDA should direct its resources towards. But Allergan has insisted that its drug fills an important societal need.

"It's a shame that Tammy Faye Bakker was never able to benefit from Latisse," Winters said, referring to the Christian singer, television personality and ex-wife of disgraced televangalist Jim Bakker known for her false eyelashes and heavy mascara. "But at least now millions of every day women like Brooke Shields can now benefit from this groundbreaking drug."

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