Pharma company boosts the price of an old acne cream 3,900%

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2016-09-26

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The greedy, price-hiking ways of Turing, Mylan, Valent, and countless others are breaking out like blemishes across the face of the pharmaceutical industry. So it may come as no surprise that a simple acne cream, called Aloquin, saw its price hit a whopping $9,561 (£7,400) last week.

The 60g tube of zit-zapping topical previously cost just $241.50—but that was months ago, before Chicago-based Novum Pharma bought the medication from Primus Pharmaceuticals in May of 2015 and made no changes to the product at all. Since then, Novum hiked the price three times, reaching an increase of 3,900 percent.

Like many other drugs that have seen huge and sudden price hikes, Aloquin is old and cheap to make. It consists of two main ingredients: iodoquinol, a generic, longstanding antibiotic; and extracts from the aloe vera plant. As the Financial Times points out, a similar cream containing the iodoquinol costs less than $30, and aloe vera extracts are just a few dollars.

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