The adolescent misery of acne and the irritation of any itchy rash might not rank high as maladies requiring major medical interventions. Still, patients seeking dermatological care for a range of issues may be feeling a new pain — in their pocketbooks — as specialists nationwide report that they and those in their care are getting swept up in what’s looking more and more like pharmaceutical avarice.
Skin care drugs since 2009 have on average quadrupled in price, according to a new published study. As the Washington Post reports, “Of the 19 brand-name drugs included in the study, certain outliers showed massive price surges — a 60-gram tube of a gel for a type of skin cancer increased from $1,686.78 for a tube to over $30,000.”
All drugs, of course, have been creeping up in cost, and not necessarily with great cause and explanation. Dermatologists express special chagrin that their commonly prescribed drugs — old and new, biologic or manufactured — all have zoomed up in price. They also don’t get on pharmacy plans so they get covered by insurance plans, meaning patients are howling because they are bearing a greater share of costs.
Part of the latest steep spike for certain therapies also can be traced to Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a hedge-fund-backed company that I have written has attracted the attention of Senate investigators and Wall Street skeptics for its efforts to corral rights to niche products then send their costs skyrocketing.
Here’s hoping that lots of folks on the Hill act after they hear an earful from constituents hit over unseemly price hikes for drugs for all manner of conditions.