Dear Big Pharma, $10,000 For Acne Cream Is NOT Okay

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
What do you call a price increase that goes from around $240 to nearly $10,000? Words like strange, confusing, and even exploitative may come to mind. And when it's the price of a prescription drug that's shot through the roof? Well, folks, many would call that textbook price gouging. This all may seem like déjà vu after the EpiPen price increase last month — and countless examples that predate that — because according to numerous news outlets, Chicago-based Novum Pharma has increased the price of Aloquin by about 3,900%. If you're not familiar, Aloquin is a topical cream commonly used to treat skin conditions like acne and eczema. According to CNBC, the price of the cream was $241.50 in May of 2015. The newest price? Oh, just $9,561 per 60-gram tube. And it gets worse: "Aloquin's label says it is 'possibly effective,' meaning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided there is only limited clinical evidence suggesting it is safe and works as intended," CNBC reports. However, we'd bet big bucks — maybe even $10,000 — on the fact that many people not only use this cream, but swear by it. So the real question is: What are they supposed to do when their prescription runs out? It's important to know that this is just one of many price increases Novum — and others in big pharma — has made recently. It appears that the company has not stated why the increase happened or if it will be permanent. The best many news outlets could hypothesize? "The company said it would invest the revenues generated by raising prices in schemes that ensured more patients could access the medicine," the Financial Times reports. And that oxymoron, friends, could be the most confusing part.

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