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If Botox-maker Allergan gets its way, one day the injectable poison, currently best known for its ability to turn foreheads into ironing-boards, will be the treatment of choice for every ailment under the sun, from migraines to enlarged prostates to speech impediments. Nothing else, marvels an Allergan scientist, "has so many demonstrated uses." And even if those uses haven't actually been discovered or verified yet, the company isn't taking any chances that a toxin-peddling competitor will cash in: It currently has more than 90 patents in place or pending for different applications of the drug:

Doctors have injected it experimentally into muscles and glands all over the body, making it medicine's answer to duct tape. According to recent medical journals, physicians have used it to treat chewing problems, swallowing problems, pelvic muscle spasms, drooling, hair loss, anal fissures and pain from missing limbs.

"I feel a little bit like I am sitting with a beautiful vessel inside the harbor but I forgot to give you the map to where our mines are," muses Allergan CEO David Pyott. "There could be a big bang when you hit one of our patents." Well, if you're going to cheerfully uphold the evil, ruthless stereotype of big pharmaceutical companies, you might as well be lyrical about it!

So Botox Isn't Just Skin Deep [NYT]