Allergan (AGN)'s Q4 earnings call contained some curious guidance on expected revenues for Latisse, its eyelash-lengthening drug that might also be a cure for baldness: $100 million for 2011. Allergan didn't explain how it would get that $100 million, which was interesting because in Q4 2010, the drug's sales slipped 33% to $17 million -- a decline that suggests $100 million is a long way away.
True, last year Latisse earned $81.8 million in revenue, up 33 percent from its 2009 launch year. But the economy was stronger in Q4 than it was at any time in the last two years, and women should have been feeling richer and more self-indulgent. Plus, as I've noted before, Allergan's Latisse marketing with Claire Danes is quite splendid.
CEO David Pyott told investors that the Latisse decline was due to "stocking" -- hoarding by retail and wholesalers -- from previous quarters and because of the heavy discounting the company has done to promote the product. Still, if discounting can't move the needle, what will?
Uncertainty over Latisse is not the only cloud on Allergan's horizon:
- A British data review suggested that Botox may not be effective for migraines despite the FDA's recent approval of the wrinkle-killing drug for that purpose. I've previously noted that Botox's effectiveness in migraine is only slightly better than a placebo.
- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) wants the FDA to release all the data it has on any link between breast implants -- which Allergan makes -- and cancer. Allergan is already fighting an aggressive PR battle against the FDA on this issue.