Big Pharma is big for a reason and little has to do with their ability to cure disease, find new drugs that will help those live better lives, no they are big as they raise the prices on existing drugs that work.
Turing after a round of negative publicity and government inquiry about their prices have since retracted their offer to reduce the price. Being a douche and bag costs extra.
Since asprin seems to be a universal wonder drug I suspect Bayer to raise prices soon.
And of course Valeant, a company under fire for numerous reasons, also saw fit to raise prices.
2 Valeant Dermatology Drugs Lead Steep Price Increases, Study Finds
By ANDREW POLLACK
The New York Times
NOV. 25, 2015
Two drugs sold by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International to treat cancer-related skin conditions increased in price by about 1,700 percent over the last six years, according to a newly published survey that found big increases in the cost of dermatology drugs across the board.
Over all, retail prices of 19 brand-name dermatology drugs from various manufacturers, for acne, infections and other conditions, quintupled from 2009 to this year.
Even some generic drugs almost quadrupled in price, according to the study, which was published on Wednesday by the journal JAMA Dermatology.
“We’re not talking about new drugs,” said Dr. Steven P. Rosenberg, a dermatologist in West Palm Beach, Fla., who led the research.
“We’re not talking about exotic drugs. We’re not talking about drugs that are listed as being in shortage.”
The price increases, he said, “have been off the charts. None of this makes any sense other than that they can get away with it.”
The two biggest increases were the Valeant drugs. The drugstore price of a tube of Targretin gel, a topical treatment for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, rose to about $30,320 this year, 18 times as much as the $1,687 in 2009. Most of that increase appears to have occurred after Valeant acquired the drug early in 2013.
A patient might need two tubes a month for several months, Dr. Rosenberg said.
The retail price of a tube of Carac cream, used to treat precancerous skin lesions called actinic keratoses, rose to $2,865 this summer, also 18 times the 2009 price of $159.
Virtually all of the increase occurred after 2011, when Valeant acquired the product. A typical treatment requires one tube, Dr. Rosenberg said.
Valeant and some other drug companies have been drawing scrutiny from Congress, hospitals and patients for acquiring old drugs for a variety of diseases and sharply increasing their prices. Federal prosecutors have also begun inquiries into Valeant’s pricing practices.
Valeant’s shares have plummeted in the last two months.
Continue reading the main story
Rising Prices for Acne Drugs
The average prices of many common medications for acne or rosacea have risen sharply since 2009. Two of those that rose most were Valeant’s Benzaclin and Retin-A Micro.
Valeant said in a statement Wednesday that it would be expected to have several drugs on the list because it has the largest market share in dermatology not counting biotech drugs, which were not included in the study.
It said the retail prices cited in the study “rarely represent the prices that patients and insurers are paying or what the pharmaceutical company receives,” and that it offered financial assistance to many patients. It also said that four of the five Valeant drugs cited in the study, including Targretin and Carac, have generic alternatives available, meaning that doctors and patients are not forced to use the brand-name product.
The published study does not name Valeant or any other manufacturer, nor does it really criticize them.
Valeant also said recently that it would sever its ties to a mail-order pharmacy, Philidor Rx Services, which was used to bolster sales of its dermatology drugs. Media reports had suggested that Philidor, which accounted for about 7 percent of Valeant’s overall sales in the third quarter, had used questionable tactics to get insurers to pay for the drugs.
Other dermatology drug companies also use mail-order pharmacies because they are less likely than a drugstore to substitute a generic for a brand-name product. Pharmacy benefit managers are now challenging this use of mail-order pharmacies.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Albany declined to stop the pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts from terminating its relationship with the pharmacy Linden Care, which dispenses expensive pain pills sold by Horizon Pharma. Linda Clark, a lawyer for Linden Care, said it would appeal the decision on an emergency basis to try to prevent disruptions in patient care.
Dermatologists say price rises, and an increasing tendency of pharmacy benefit managers to refuse to pay for certain drugs they view as unnecessarily expensive, are making it difficult for patients to obtain the drugs they prescribe. The American Academy of Dermatology established a task force on pharmaceutical prices and price transparency this year to try to come up with solutions.
Access to treatments is being “limited because of costs and the burden they are placing on our patients,” said the task force’s chairman, Dr. Bruce A. Brod, a dermatologist in Lancaster, Pa., who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania medical school.
Dr. Rosenberg, who is also a volunteer professor at the University of Miami, said he did not set out to publish a study. He wanted simply to inform other dermatologists in Florida about the costs of the drugs they were prescribing.
“Some of the physicians were shocked to find out that the cost of the medicine was $500 or $600 and there was an alternative that was more reasonable,” Dr. Rosenberg said.
So he and his daughter, Miranda E. Rosenberg, now a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, surveyed four drugstores in West Palm Beach that were part of the chains Costco, CVS, Sam’s Club and Walgreens. While prices can vary somewhat geographically, the basic findings should hold true nationwide, the authors say.
The 2009 survey results, posted on the website of a Florida dermatology society, proved popular enough that they repeated it in 2011 and 2014, using the same drugstores. When they saw how much prices had jumped from 2011 to 2014, they decided to publish, using a representative sample of 19 drugs.
Prices for seven of the drugs more than quadrupled in that period.
Valeant accounted for four of them: Targretin, Carac, Retin-A Micro for acne and Oxsoralen-Ultra for psoriasis.
Two of the drugs — Solaraze for actinic keratoses and Oxistat cream for athlete’s foot and jock itch — are made by PharmaDerm, which is owned by Novartis. The seventh drug, Derma-Smoothe/FS oil, a steroid to treat atopic dermatitis, is from Royal Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey.
Dermatology represented the 11th-biggest therapeutic category for drugs in 2014, with 109 million prescriptions, according to IMS Health. It said sales of such drugs totaled $9.5 billion before discounts that year.
Many dermatology drugs do not contain novel ingredients. Carac, for instance, is made of fluorouracil, a decades-old chemotherapy drug. Targretin contains a vitamin A derivative known as a retinoid.
Manufacturers make new formulations they say provide better results. Dr. Brod said that particular formulations might be best for certain patients, and doctors need a full choice of products. But others are skeptical.
“There hasn’t really been a new drug in dermatology for a long time,” said Dr. Robert Rudolph, a recently retired dermatologist in Wyomissing, Pa., who also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. “They are just slightly tweaking something and jacking up the price.”