Effect of the recession on plastic surgery practices
Written by Sarah Hodge
As the world economy teeters between disaster and recovery there are a couple industries that show few signs of impact. The elective surgeries sector is one of them and earlier this year, media outlets around the world reported on how efficiently the industry performed.
It seems, however, that the economic losses have eventually caught up with the widely accepted practice and now everyone is looking for the right deal to stay afloat and keep customers walking through the doors. The consequences are already affecting doctors and patients and if they are not careful, they could end up changing the way in which the industry operates as a whole.
In the United States alone, more than 13 million cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures were performed last year and according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), this was a five percent increase from 2009. As a representation of thousands of plastic surgeons across the country, the Society serves as a reference for patients on cosmetic procedures. So what was the reason for an increase in the number of plastic surgery patients? The answer is simple, people wanted jobs.
The state of the economy actually served as a catalyst, encouraging more people to seek out and undergo cosmetic procedures. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then employment is the reward for attracting the right employer and plastic surgery has quickly become the new tool to gain a competitive advantage in a stumbling job market.
Men and women found themselves getting tightened, plumped and filled to reduce the signs of aging and avoid getting the axe. Meanwhile, the increasingly popular Botox has gained even more loyal followers and there were reportedly 11.3 million administrations of the FDA approved drug last year.
With the job reports showing declines over the past months, people must resort to their own measures before many job plans will prove to be effective, especially as the economic response in the states and abroad has been less than enthusiastic. In the scramble to keep their appointment books filled, some surgeons have begun to offer their services at discounted rates. For professional organisations such as the ASPS and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), this is a cause for concern.
According to the BAAPS, discounts and deals could trivialise the importance of the plastic surgery industry, especially after researchers discovered that 26 percent of British and 12 percent of American cosmetic clinics use financial incentives to promote their surgical treatments. These incentives have even gone as far as offering breast enhancement procedures as the main prize in a UK nightclub’s raffle draw.
However, the growing popularity of Groupon, Living Social and similar daily deals companies is also allowing surgeons to tempt patients with these offers through an exclusive subscriber list. As a result, procedures like liposuction, botox, and nose jobs are available at a fraction of their original cost and the basic format of these incentives is easily replicated and extremely desirable to consumers who want the results without the hefty price tag.
Unfortunately the plastic surgery industry is still a business and if you make cuts in one area other adjustments must be made in order to be profitable. That is where the ASPS raise a red flag, as there are not provisions to regulate what kind of deals surgeons make and such offers create opportunities for unethical practices.
But it is not just surgeons that are taking advantage of the increased demand for cosmetic surgery treatments. American business celebrity Donald Trump has also found a way to use these avenues to exploit the desires of the masses. His casino, the Taj Mahal, is offering a $25,000 prize to gamblers in their The Nip, Tuck and Lift Sweepstakes.
Advice from the ASPS and the BAAPS to patients is to ensure they always check the fine print of these online deals and the credentials of doctor’s who are offering such heavy discounts. While many potential patients and cosmetic surgery clinics and doctors are feeling the economic pinch, it shouldn’t be at the expense of health and safety.
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Bachem turns 50 - a timeline
Bachem, a supplier to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. We take a look at the Swiss company's history.
1971 - beginnings
Bachem is founded by entrepreneur Peter Grogg in Liestal, a small town near Basel in Switzerland. Grogg started the firm with just two employees, and with a focus on peptide synthesis - peptides are composed of amino acids that have a variety of functions treating health conditions such as cancer and diabetes.
1977 - 1981 - early growth
Bachem moves its headquarters to the Swiss town of Bubendorf, with eight employees. In 1978 the company produces peptides for use in medicines for the first time. In 1981 production capacity triples and the workforce grows to 150.
1987 - 1996 - worldwide expansion
The company expands into the US with Bachem Bioscience, Inc. in Philadelphia. To strengthen its presence in Europe, Bachem opens sales and marketing centres in Germany in 1988.
Further sales centres open in France in 1993. By 1995 the company employs 190 people. In 1996 it acquires the second largest manufacturer of peptides in the world and forms Bachem California with a site in Torrance.
1998 - 2003 - Bachem goes public
Bachem company goes public and lists shares on the Swiss Stock Exchange. Further acquisitions include Peninsula Laboratories, Inc, based in California, and Sochinaz SA, a Swiss-based manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients. By 2001, the company has 500 employees and sales reach 141 million CHF.
In 2003 the organisation is given a new legal holding structure to support its continued growth, which remains in place to this day.
2007 - 2013 - acquisitions
Bachem acquires a brand by Merck Biosciences for ready-to-use clinical trial materials and related services.
In 2013, together with GlyTech, Inc. Bachem announces the development of a new amino acid that can help to treat multiple sclerosis, with a world market of more than $4 billion.
In 2015 it acquires the American Peptide Company (APC), which becomes integrated into Bachem Americas.
2016 - 2019 - a global leader
In 2016 the group opens a new building dedicated to R&D projects and small series production in Bubendorf. With a total of 1,022 employees, the workforce exceeds the 1,000 mark for the first time in the company’s history. Sales are over the 200 million mark for the first time at 236.5 million CHF.
Bachem expands into Asia with the establishment of a new company in Tokyo called Bachem Japan K.K.
By 2019 Bachem has a growing oligonucleotide portfolio - these are DNA molecules used in genetic testing, research, and forensics. It is hoped this will become a significant product range in the future.
2020 - COVID-19
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bachem secures its supply of active ingredients, and even increases it in critical areas. Sales exceed the 400 million Swiss franc mark for the first time, and 272 new employees are hired.
2021 - a milestone anniversary
Bachem celebrates its 50th anniversary and position as a global leader in the manufacture of peptides. While it remains headquartered in Bubendorf, the company employs 1,500 people at six locations worldwide. In the next five years there are plans to continue expanding.
Commemorating the company's anniversary, Kuno Sommer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: "Bachem's exceptional success story from a small laboratory to a global market leader is closely linked to Peter Grogg's values, and has been shaped by innovation, consistent quality and cost awareness, as well as by entrepreneurial vision."