Make us your home page
Instagram

Study: Skin care drug prices up 401 percent since 2009

WASHINGTON — The cost of prescription skin treatments has skyrocketed since 2009, as escalating drug prices increasingly weigh on family budgets.

Retail prices have surged 401 percent since 2009 for brand-name drugs for skin conditions, according to research published in JAMA Dermatology, a medical journal. That compares to an overall inflation rate of just 11 percent during the same period.

Of the 19 brand-name drugs analyzed in the study published Wednesday, price hikes have been most extreme for two drugs made by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., which has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for documents tied to its pricing and practices. It is also under investigation by several members of Congress. The Canada-based company has acquired smaller drug developers and then raised prices.

Costs for Valeant's Targretin gel skin cancer treatment have shot up 18-fold over the past six years to $30,320 per 60 gram tube. Prices for a separate Valeant skin cancer cream, Carac cream, also surged 18 times to $2,865 for a 30 gram tube.

But the study found that dramatic price hikes are common across the pharmaceutical industry. Prices for generic skin treatment drugs climbed 279 percent between 2011 and 2014.

Health insurers increasingly pass those costs onto patients.

The analysis by Dr. Steven Rosenberg, a dermatologist, and his daughter, Miranda Rosenberg, a third-year medical student at the University Pennsylvania, did not identify a source of the higher drug costs. But the expense of development and marketing of drugs, along with profit-taking and a dependent customer base all appear to have contributed to the broader increase in drug prices.

A report published in May by the pharmacy-benefits company Express Scripts found that 576,000 Americans spent at least $50,000 on prescriptions in 2014, a sum roughly equivalent to the U.S. median household income.

Study: Skin care drug prices up 401 percent since 2009 11/27/15 [Last modified: Friday, November 27, 2015 6:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Irish 31 brings flair, flavor to Wiregrass

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery opened its fifth location at The Shops at Wiregrass earlier this month.

    hillsevbiz072117: Irish 31 has opened at the Shops at Wiregrass with a warm, wood decor. Photo courtesy of Irish 31.
  2. Family fun featured at Lutz-area ice cream shop

    Business

    LUTZ — For Joe Schembri, ice cream reminds him of fun times he spent with his family as a child.

    hillsevbiz072117: Joe Schembri has opened the Ice Dreamery in Lutz. Photo courtesy of Joe Schembri.
  3. Clean Eatz offers low-cal options in South Tampa

    Business

    Inside Clean Eatz, almost everything is under 500 calories.

    Clean Eatz will offer healthy dining options in South Tampa. Photo courtesy of Clean Eatz.
  4. Salon brings a Parisian experience to Tampa

    Business

    A new salon in International Plaza, opened by French women Geraldine Jousseau and Estelle Mattingly, takes clients on a trip to Paris.

    Le Studio Paris offers a variety of salon services in International Plaza. Photo courtesy of Le Studio Paris.
  5. Ratings service Nielsen begins tracking live TV consumption on Hulu, YouTube

    Retail

    TV ratings service Nielsen will begin tracking how many people watch network TV on YouTube and Hulu to gauge how many viewers broadcast networks have through streaming, the company announced Tuesday.

    Nielsen, a ratings company, is monitoring how many viewers watch live TV on Hulu and YouTube to get a better sense of overall viewership. | [AP]