Botox and breast implants continue to sell well in Europe in spite of soaring unemployment and severe austerity measures, said the chief executive of Allergan, the US pharmaceutical company.

David Pyott, chief executive of Allergan, said on Wednesday that his company generated double-digit growth in sales of breast implants in Europe during the first three months of the year, compared with the same period a year ago. Sales of Botox, the wrinkle smoothing injectable medicine, are also picking up in spite of economic headwinds.

“In southern Europe, people spend a higher proportion of their income on appearance and lifestyle,” Mr Pyott told the Financial Times. “They are happy to live in a modest apartment and look good facially and body-wise when they go out.”

Botox sales helped Allergan’s net earnings rise 45 per cent year-on-year to $230.3m, or 76 cents a share, as revenues rose nearly 10 per cent to $1.39bn.

The company’s shares fell 4.04 per cent to $92.50 as Allergan’s outlook was weaker than Wall Street analysts projected.

Botox sales for non-cosmetic purposes, such as migraine headache relief, have begun to outpace sales to customers intending to smooth forehead creases.

My Pyott said that breast implant sales in Europe were strong in part because of the recent scandal involving Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), a maker of breast implants, which closed after its products were found to be unsafe. The safety scare had led doctors to switch to Allergan’s products, he said.

Alan Rappeport

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