Testosterone is one of the fastest-growing therapies prescribed by the $80 billion-a-year anti-aging industry, which has embraced it as the cure du jour for andropause, more commonly known as male menopause. Testosterone is sure looking virile according to this article from BusinessWeek.
Sales of testosterone products in the USA already on the market have rocketed 25% in the 12 months ending in June, to just under $1 billion. The recession has knocked the wind out of other “lifestyle drugs” – medicines to treat conditions that aren’t life-threatening. Even Pfizer’s blockbuster Viagra fell 8% in the most recent quarter, year over year.
But not testosterone. Boomer lust for the hormone is now spurring a land grab by companies that make it. On Sept. 28 drug giant Abbott Laboratories acquired Solvay Pharmaceuticals, which makes the leading testosterone product, AndroGel. According to the industry watchers the driving element is demographics.
New entrants in this market, however, will have many regulatory hurdles to overcome.
Conservative doctors question the existence of male menopause, and testosterone makers shy from discussing it because they’re not allowed to promote the drug “off-label” -for uses not endorsed by the FDA. Still, off-label prescriptions are likely to account for much of the market’s rapid growth. That fact isn’t lost on the FDA: During a press conference to announce the black boxes, an agency spokeswoman said she was alarmed that 25,000 testosterone prescriptions per year are written off-label for women, who use it to boost their libidos.
Here’s a website for Bayer Schering Pharma’s drug Nebido (love that name?). I has not yet received FDA approval but is already available in some countries outside the USA.
Boomers have never been shy to try use drugs to enhance ‘life’ and here we see them continuing this pattern into later years. Good news for the pharma boys.