Skyrocketing Prices for Dermatology Rx Products 
Posted by Carlos on Nov 30, 2015

More to worry about than just a pimple...

Last week, a study published in JAMA Dermatology examined the skyrocketing prices for dermatology prescription products. Amazingly,

Of the 19 brand-name drugs analyzed, the retail prices of 7 drugs more than quadrupled during the study period. Among these 19 drugs, the mean price increase was 401% during the 6-year survey period, with the majority of the price increases occurring after 2011.

Over 400% in 6 years.


Some of these price increases are incredible, especially for the antineoplastics:

  • Carac (fluorouracil cream, Valeant) – Leaped from $227/30 g in 2011 to $2,940 in 2014. The price has since “dropped” to $2,865. But that’s still a 1,697% change between 2009-2015
  • Targretin (bexarotene, Valeant) – Similar 1,697% increase between 2009-2015

Even some of the acne & rosacea products, which are generic or granted generics, increased substantially during this time period:

  • Retina-A-Micro (tretinoin, Ortho) – Up >400%
  • Benzaclin (clindamycin & benzoyl peroxide, Valeant)) – Up >200%

And so on…

For many of these brands, there are generic versions available. And where there isn’t a generic, there is usually another brand which is comparable, but admittedly not directly interchangeable.

The authors made no attempt at assessing the reasons for these price increases, and we can only speculate as to why Valeant and other companies decided to make these sudden and dramatic price changes.

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