Brand name and generic dermatology drug prices have increased anywhere from 180% to 1,697% in the past 6 years, according to results of a survey of pharmacists at four major chain drugstores.
From 2009 to 2015, 19 brand name prescription medications regularly used to treat dermatologic conditions increased in price by 401%, and a few of those drugs even increased more than 16-fold, reported Steven P. Rosenberg, MD, of Palm Beach Dermatology in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Miranda E. Rosenberg, a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
The Rosenbergs surveyed pharmacists at a Costco, a CVS, a Sam’s Club, and a Walgreens in West Palm Beach, starting in 2009, and then again in 2011, 2014, and 2015.
The surveys were worded to solicit drug pricing information for the purpose of informing prescribing practices to “better serve our patients,” specifically those without insurance or who had high deductible insurance plans, they explained. The response rate was 100%, and surveys were returned within 1 week of distribution.
The initial survey requested pricing for 1-month supplies, or full course of treatment fulfillment, for 72 different brand-name medications. The authors noted that several of the drugs from 2009 had been discontinued or replaced in practice by newer therapies by 2015, and the final analysis focused on 19 drugs for which they had complete data in each survey year.
Some of the drugs included in the study were Altabax (retapamulin), Benzaclin (benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin), Cloderm cream (clocortolone pivalate), Derma-Smoothe FS oil (fluocinolone acetonide), Oracea (doxycycline), Retin-A Micro 0.1% (tretinoin), Solaraze (diclofenac sodium) gel, Tazorac (tazarotene) cream, and Xolegel (ketoconazole).