Pretty good prospects

Merz CEO Philip Burchard (right) with brand ambassadors beauty queen Pia Wurtzbach and actress Charo Santos-Concio.

A recent entry to the competitive medical aesthetics market in Asia, Merz Aesthetics is optimistic about the Philippines.

The German multinational specializes in minimally invasive cosmetic procedures.


In the Philippines, one of its popular equipment is an ultrasound technology that lifts and tightens the skin, called Ultherapy.

The machine costs around P5 million each, but it is said to provide doctors with the fastest return on investment, says Jorge Tuazon Libanan, country manager of Merz Healthcare Philippines. Sales of Ultherapy have tripled since it was relaunched in 2016 with Kris Aquino as brand ambassador.


Asked how Ultherapy distinguishes itself from competition, Philip Burchard, CEO of Merz Pharma, explains, “Ultherapy is micro-focused ultrasound. It will set these little heat points under the skin at an optimal temperature. Around that little heat point, there will be a lot of collagen being created as a repair mechanism. This catalyzes the lifting and tightening effect.”

The new generation Ultherapy allows doctors to see the deeper layers of the skin and muscle.

“They will know exactly at which point and at what depth precisely they are delivering the heat point. There are no competitors who are able to provide real-time imaging yet,” saus Lawrence Siow, chief executive officer of Merz Asia Pacific.

Dubbed a “lunchtime procedure,” Ultherapy can be performed in less than an hour. Results are clearly visible in three months, and the effects can last for 18 months.

Dr. Owen Sunga, executive director of medical affairs of Merz Asia Pacific, observes that the age of most patients in the Philippines ranges from late 20s to 70s.

Its new brand ambassadors beauty queen Pia Wurtzbach, 28, and actress Charo Santos-Concio, 63, represent that market.

Burchard points out that aside from Ultherapy’s technological advancements, the improved training of the doctors has brought ideal results to patients. Many have reported a firmer jaw line and a smaller facial circumference.


Although Ultherapy is the top seller of Merz Philippines, its product portfolio is extensive, including dermal fillers Radiesse and Belotero and Xeomin, an injectable treatment for facial lines.

Merz Aesthetics ventured into the Asian market in 2013, quite late compared to its competitors. Yet, it has been experiencing continuous growth.

This was attributed to the strength of the middle class, the increase in disposable income and the increasing importance of wellness and beauty.

In the Philippines, Merz initially worked with a partner. But seeing the country’s robust economy, Merz established an affiliate in 2015.

“The demand for aesthetic products will continue growing in the future. So, we decided to create our own company here and to invest in hiring the people, and developing the relationships with the physicians. We do everything ourselves,” says Burchard.

Merz Philippines’ sales representatives, who are also medical professionals, make their pitch to doctors from an educated perspective. They provide prospective buyers with research and economic costs.

In the next two years, Burchard predicts continuous double-digit growth in Asia. As customers mature, they will seek nonsurgical ways to retard the aging process.

And in that hour of need, Merz has committed to be present. —CONTRIBUTED

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TAGS: medical aesthetics, Merz Aesthetics, Ultherapy
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