To continue on with our summer theme (clearly our unusually harsh winter is getting to us here in Toronto), let's talk about Australia. While we can't leave the house without several layers of pants, in Australia, it's summertime. Granted, it's been a harsh summer, with a lot of heat and not a lot of rain, but it's still summer and I think most of us in Toronto would take it right now.

In fact, I am going to take it, I'm heading down under for a much-needed vacation in mid-February (I might even be there when you're reading this). In honour of my vacation and Australia day (January 26th), I was casting about for an Australia-themed topic that I could somehow tie to medtech. While packing last night, I was reminded of the strict standards for bringing goods into Australia. Because of their extremely unique ecosystem, they are very strict about what you can bring into the country. Last time I was there, I had to line up and place all my bags on the floor so that a sniffer dog could make sure that I wasn't bringing in anything damaging, and planes are regularly sprayed with insecticides.

When it comes to medtech, the Australian regulatory process is actually known to be faster and less data intensive compared to countries like the US. Although there is a movement in the country toward more stringent review processes, one industry stands out for already being fairly strict: facial injectables. Only a few brands of botulinum toxin (BTX) and dermal fillers are approved in the country. While this is on par with say, the US, it is significantly lower than Europe, where more than 25 companies have approved products (although the regulatory process in Europe is somewhat under contention). But approval isn't the only barrier here. In Australia and New Zealand, facial injectables are considered to be prescription medicines and therefore advertising directly to consumers is illegal. The Australian regulatory system allows companies to advertise the type or intended purpose of facial injectables (i.e., cosmetic injection or antiwrinkle injection) but the specific brand name and company cannot be mentioned. This has created a tough environment for manufacturers in Australia because this industry relies so heavily on brand loyalty in other parts of the world.

Thankfully, this time around, I'm not planning on having any facial injectable procedures done while I'm down under, and I'm also going to stay away from these so-called injectable tans (of course the Aussies would be onto that). As a blonde who can't tan, it will be lots of sunscreen for me, hopefully to help preserve my skin and to avoid the need for any cosmetic procedures in the future!

Pivoting a product launch during the pandemic

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