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Costs of Prescription Skin Care Drugs have Skyrocketed, Study Finds

Update Date: Nov 27, 2015 10:26 AM EST

Prescription skin care drugs have gotten more and more expensive over the past few years, a new report found.

According to the new research, the retail prices for 19 brand-name skin-care drugs have soared by an average of 401 percent since 2009, which is about an 11 percent inflation rate. The range of the increase was from 60 percent to 1,698 percent from 2009 to 2015. The drugs were mainly prescribed for skin cancer, infections, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions involving itchiness.

The team found that the costs of two drugs manufactured by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., Targretin and Carac, increased the most during this time span. The cost of Targretin, which is a gel skin cancer drug, increased by 18 times over the past six years. The prices for Carac, which is a cream that treats skin cancer, also increased by 18 times.

The Canadian company has been subpoenaed by federal investigators in regards to their pricing system and is also being investigated by Congressmen.

The team also found that the costs of generic skin treatment drugs increased by 279 percent from 2011 to 2014.

"It was shocking to us when we saw some of the prices," said senior author Dr. Steven Rosenberg, at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine reported by Reuters. "We double checked with the pharmacies to make sure they were accurate."

He added, "I think they're charging what they want to, because they can. I think that's the simplest answer. What's going on with the prescription drug pricing is just going to bankrupt healthcare. It's not sustainable."

The study was published in JAMA Dermatology.

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