Death to Beauty
The Transformative History of Botox
Published by: Indiana University Press
224 Pages, 25 b&w illus.
This book can be purchased from this website 120 days before the publish date
- Published: January 2024
In the 1970s, Dr. Alan Scott sought to selectively weaken eye muscles to treat strabismus (when one or both eyes are misaligned) without surgery. After failed attempts with other agents, Scott developed a method to stabilize the bacteria that causes botulism, culminating in a drug that eventually became known as Botox.
In Death to Beauty, Eugene M. Helveston, MD, follows the unlikely story of botulism's 1817 discovery in contaminated German sausages, to its use in military and research facilities, to Scott, an ophthalmologist who aimed to safely use the drug in humans. Scott struggled alone as an unknown in the pharmaceutical industry, searching for clinical trial financing and FDA approval, which he achieved at a fraction of the billions big pharma usually spends to bring a drug to market. Eventually, the company Allergan bought him out, capitalizing on the possibilities for cosmetic uses. Scott's formula was renamed "Botox" and reached annual sales in the billions. After the sale, Scott received no further compensation from Botox sales and remained the same unassuming man.
A fascinating walk through the intricate history of how the world's deadliest toxin starting as a treatment for crossed eyes became a routine tool for the cosmetic industry, Death to Beauty will make you rethink success, beauty, and deadly bacteria.
1. Clostridium Botulinum
2. The World's Deadliest Poison
3. The Canning Industry
4. An Outbreak in the United States
5. A Still Rare But Deadly Disease
6. World War II Sets the Stage
7. Fort Detrick—U.S. Army Chemical Warfare
8. Fort Detrick and the CIA
9. The Government Steps In
10. Edward Schantz Testifies
11. Back Home in Madison
12. Dr. Alan B. Scott
13. Progress in the Lab
14. First Injection in a Primate
15. First Injection in a Human
16. Joining the Team
17. Manufacturing Begins
18. Marketing and Selling a New Drug
19. Jean Carruthers's TEDx Talk
20. Dermatology Opens the Floodgates
21. Botox and Neurology
22. The Legacy