Researchers found that 19 brand-name dermatological drugs underwent a price hike of an average of 401 percent since 2009. Massive price hikes continue to infuriate both health experts and patients.
One example would be the 2,000 percent price increase of the injectable drug Synacthen Depot used in the treatment of infantile spasms. In the recent study, the team found that 19 percent of consumers, or about one in five Americans, decided not to fill at least one prescription drug due to price in 2014.
Some people are blaming insurance companies, particularly those who don't update coverage to accommodate the price hike or have higher deductibles.
A joint team from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Miami analyzed the average costs of 72 common drugs in West Palm Beach. They covered pharmacy locations in CVS, Sam's Club, Costco and Walgreens in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2015. From the 72 initial drugs, they focused on 19 brand-name dermatological drugs based on their prescription frequency and cost hikes. These 19 drugs were then grouped based on what they treat: antineoplastics (used for cancer treatment), anti-infectives, acne and rosacea, topical corticosteroids and psoriasis.
Collectively, the 19 drugs averaged a 401 percent price increase from 2009. Most of the price hikes took place after 2011. Antineoplastic drug prices rose by 1,240 percent to an average of $10,926, which is the largest hike documented in the six-year study period. The prices of anti-infective drugs went up to a meager average of $333. Psoriasis drugs had the least price surge at 180 percent.
The prices of topical corticosteroids rose by 290 percent, while drug prices for acne and rosacea treatment increased by 195 percent. Generic drugs also experienced a price surge of 279 percent between 2011 and 2014.
"It was shocking to us when we saw some of the prices. We double-checked with the pharmacies to make sure they were accurate," said senior study author Dr. Steven Rosenberg, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine's voluntary professor of dermatology.
The research was published in the JAMA Dermatology journal on Nov. 25.