It is both a pleasure and an honour to introduce the inaugural PRIME Roundtable Discussion on Injectable Products, on behalf of my Roundtable Co-Chair, Rosalind Hill (Managing Editor); our esteemed physician co-faculty, Drs Fahd Benslimane, Wayne Carey, Daniel Cassuto and Fabio Ingallina; and the industry representatives who joined us, Basste Hadjab (Anteis) and Stéphane Meunier (Teoxane). The discussion is accompanied by a survey that polled readers for opinions and recommendations on injectable soft tissue fillers and neuromodulators.
The inception of this project was almost exactly 1 year ago, in January 2013. Rosalind, a creative Editor with a laudable desire to advance the science-based content of PRIME, was aware of a two-part supplement publication initiative on fillers that I had chaired and edited the previous year for the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology1, 2. It included almost 40 international experts, who provided their insights on a variety of topics via roundtable discussions, a couple of consensus documents, and case vignettes. I was particularly struck by feedback on the roundtables, which was that they provided a wealth of information in an easily digestible format. One reader commented that, while he tended to skim journal articles quickly, he had found himself reading these roundtables multiple times from start to finish, and making copious notes for further reference.
In a series of trans-Atlantic conversations, Rosalind and I discussed the production of a roundtable publication on fillers and neuromodulators for PRIME. We decided to link it to a live educational event, and subsequently to add an online survey of the journal’s readers. In keeping with Rosalind’s aspirations and my own educational and research interests, our objective was to highlight the potential of science to influence current and future use of injectables. The live symposium and resultant supplement publication would provide an intriguing snapshot of a fast-changing landscape. In Europe, the UK and Asia, new products were emerging and new legislation was pending. In the US, products that had been approved elsewhere in the world for a number of years were now under study and becoming available. The major players in the field were evolving — sometimes unpredictably — due to company and product acquisitions.
We selected the Marrakech World Aesthetic Congress (MWAC) as the venue for the live symposium, owing to its high level of injectables education and its lack of commercialism. Despite its alluring location, the MWAC is far more than a ‘destination meeting’, as evinced by the presence of physician thought leaders in the audience, as well as on the podium. The agenda is unique, and the cosmopolitan faculty from nine countries on five continents is immersed in cutting-edge clinical work and research. Final plans were cemented over a working dinner in Las Vegas. We were joined by a colleague whom I respect immensely for his intellect and intuition, Simon Fraser, Director of Global Strategic Marketing at Mentor Worldwide, LLC. The three of us — a journal editor, a physician and an industry executive — identified what we felt to be the hot topics of the day, and drafted some questions for the roundtable and the survey that Rosalind and I later augmented and refined.
We solicited the involvement of a small, multidisciplinary group of physicians who could provide diverse perspectives and a spirited debate. As an acknowledgment of the fact that so many studies of injectables emanate from industry, invitations were also sent to specific individuals from each of the major manufacturing companies who could contribute non-promotional scientific expertise and experience. Ultimately, based on availability of the invitees, the roundtable included two European industry participants. It should be noted that the roundtable is completely independent of any industry control or sponsorship.
What you hold in your hands (or read on your computer) represents the proceedings of a well-attended and engaging debate session, plus the input of over 270 survey respondents specialising in dermatology, plastic surgery or cosmetic medicine. The demographics of the respondents reflect the wide reach and impact of PRIME. Some are key opinion leaders; others are community practitioners. They are drawn from the worlds of both academic and private practice, and they span the world — Eastern and Western Europe, the UK, Ireland, South and Central America, the Middle East, US, Asia and Australia.
This supplement will be of value to, and have implications for, all who are involved with injectables. The British science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke, said it so well: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. When we think of how far we’ve come in the past couple of decades, it really can seem magical. I think there’s also another aspect to this concept of magic. It implies an emotional, rather than analytical, approach. For many of us, our work with injectables transcends the prosaic performance of a job, and has indeed become a passion. As we move forward together, I think it’s essential for us to keep the sense of wonder, but to integrate it with the appreciation that science and logic must be our guiding lights in the exciting years ahead.