Thursday, October 4, 2007


Traditionally, doctors provide treatment for sick people. Doctors are involved in sickness management – managing and curing illnesses and infirmities. As the pharma and medical field advanced, wellness management came under the umbrella of clinical practice. And now the stage is set for another dimension - beauty treatment in clinical settings. Thus, the modern day doctor is involved in sickness treatment and management, wellness management, and, now, beauty treatment in clinics.

Beauty treatments are called medical aesthetic treatments too. This medical service is offered by qualified doctors – mainly plastic surgeons, trichologists, dermatologists & dermacosmetologists. For eg. this clinic in London offers medical beauty treatment:

Cosmetic clinics like offer acne laser treatments, and other invasive and non-invasive cosmetic treatments. Acne and brown spots treatment, management of oily skin, acne scar treatment, fine and major skin wrinkles treatment, sagging skins - for which skin tightening is done, derma-abrasions, reduction of age spots or liver spots, and skin peelings are some of the clinical beauty treatments.

Why beauty treatments in clinical settings?

WHO defines health as physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of sickness and infirmities. Clinics are the key social organs for healthcare delivery. Doctors in clinics are the key healthcare professionals (particularly in India) for delivering physical, mental, and social well being of individuals. Beauty treatments in clinical settings, is one more approach for adding value to a person’s social well being.

Aging: the reality of today’s world

It is well known that people in society are living longer than ever before. Aging is the new challenge on the clinical horizon. Aging brings along with it associated challenges – senescence causes physical and mental dullness, weak digestion and metabolism, muscle shrinkage, skin atrophy (reduction in size), dementia, sagging skin, wrinkling, frown lines, fragile and brittle bones (osteoporosis), degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis, and….LONELINESS and other mental ailments. The collapse of the traditional joint family systems and community/caste support systems in urban and semi urban places of India has caused exacerbation of mental ailments in the aged. Thus, the scope of some major herbal therapies like brahmi, ashvagandha, kapikacchu, and gokshura that have a rejuvenative effect is large. In fact, the USP of Ayurveda is rasayana or rejuvenative treatments that are apt for the burgeoning population of the world.

Beauty treatments for the aging population of India

There is a significant increase in use of cosmetics, drugs, and treatments that help the aging population and the aged to live a better and healthier life. The growth of purchasing power in urban and semi urban areas of India, and the influence of media has lead to increased consumption of luxury goods and services too. Masstige products are seeing increased demand. There is a trend of mass customization of luxury goods for select target audiences in India. It is this feature of the Indian market that has led to higher consumption of beauty products and services in clinical and non-clinical settings. For instance a dermacosmetologist has set up shop even in Latur. In advanced countries, plastic surgeons/dermatologists are into body sculpting and skin tightening treatments for giving healthy looks to the young and old alike. Body sculpting is a fad among teenagers and young women. The rise in obesity has led to an increased demand for such products and medical services the world over.

Spotting opportunities for pharma companies

Pharmaceutical and Healthcare companies are always on the lookout for trends and market gaps or opportunities for addressing with value added products and services. The rise of beauty consciousness and purchasing power in India provides a lucrative market for medically oriented beauty products. Right now, dermatologists, cosmetologists, and plastic surgeons in urban and semi urban settings are profiting from this trend. It is only a matter of time when the gynecologist, general surgeon, consulting physician and top GPs start cashing on this clinical beauty boom, by augmenting their services. For eg., the gynecologist will start recommending suitable treatments and products for menopausal women (for fine wrinkles, sagging skin, and dull skin), acne in PCOS women; the consulting physician or endocrinologist would start recommending suitable beauty care products for patients suffering from premature aging and fine wrinkles due to diabetes or other endocrinological disorders or as a result of side effects of other medications. All in all, the beauty boom is starting to gain momentum and the market signals are seen too. For eg., we see the zooming growth of Kaya skin clinics - as per Economic Times, 10.9.2007, Investors Guide: In FY 07 Kaya business has grown by 57% to Rs. 75 crores, in April-June 07, the turnover is Rs. 21 crores, up 31% over last year. Further the report suggests Kaya skin clinic is a growth driver broke even in FY 07 with marginal profit, in FY 07 – 08 Kaya will add 15 new clinics. Kaya offers: beauty clinic, lifestyle disease management, stress management, fairness solution, and weight-loss solutions. One thumb rule for product promotion to doctors cannot be ignored – the products should be backed by robust clinical trials to assure safety and efficacy.

Many mid size European and American healthcare companies are stitching together a cogent BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) strategy for growth of their products and services mainly through local Indian companies (for the Indian market). Besides the attractiveness of the Indian market, the allure also comes from the fact that the drugs and cosmetics regulations are not high hurdle, and the various fees are not prohibitively priced like that of the US FDA. The entry costs and procedures are easier in India compared to countries like USA.

So the action is all set to hot up in the Great Indian Health, Medical and Pharma Bazaar! WELCOME TO INDIA - the customer will be the final winner!!

This is my 48th blogpost - please do read all of my other posts by clicking on older posts when required. Thnks.

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