Tough toenails? Doctor's "piggy paste" goes to market

An Illinois family physician starts a company to sell an over-the counter toenail treatment.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted April 19, 2010

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Making sidelines pay

Business Pitch

Doctors who branched out beyond running their practice tell why they did it, how they did it, and what you should know before you do it.
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Name: Paul Kinsinger, MD

Specialty: Family medicine

Location: Washington, Ill.

Company: Dr. Paul's Piggy Paste (link). The company sells an over-the-counter treatment for toenails.

Annual revenue: Numbers are not available because Dr. Paul's Piggy Paste launched only a few months ago in 22 local stores. Dr. Kinsinger has invested $40,000 thus far. He expects to cover those costs by August with sales from his Web site.

Why he started the business: Dr. Kinsinger read in a scientific journal that soaking toes in a vinegar and water solution treats the fungus that makes nails thick and discolored. But in order for the strategy to be successful, the treatments had to be done daily for months at a time -- something most patients found too messy and time consuming.

Dr. Kinsinger said he approached a compounding pharmacist about putting vinegar in a penetrating gel so it would be more convenient. The pharmacist did so and added thymol, a common ingredient in mouthwash that also has antifungal properties. Boudreaux's "Butt Paste," a treatment for diaper rash, inspired the name for the toenail gel.

Dr. Paul's Piggy Paste, which retails for about $30 for a three-month supply, is marketed as a means for improving a toenail's appearance.

Dr. Kinsinger is planning clinical trials to help facilitate Food and Drug Administration approval for the product to be marketed as a treatment for toenail fungus.

Why he keeps practicing: "When you feel like you are doing God's work and there is a purpose, you just know that you are supposed to do this."

Words of wisdom: Dr. Kinsinger says that when presented with a multiple-choice question and given options to answer "a," "b," or "c" that the answer may actually be "g" or "h."

"Try to think of the answer that you don't really see. This is critical thinking."

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