Pharmaceutical company Novum Pharma has raised the price of a skin cream to nearly $10,000 a tube in the US.
Novum bought the rights to the prescription-only Aloquin cream in May 2015, when it was sold for $241.50 per tube. Within days, the company introduced a 1,100 percent increase, followed by another price rise earlier this year. Last week, they hiked the price for a third time – this time by 128 percent – making the price of a 60-gram (2.1-ounce) tube $9,561, according to figures by the Financial Times. That’s around a 3,900 percent increase in 18 months.
The company responded to the Financial Times by saying it would invest the money they made from the price increases into schemes that would allow more patients to get the medicine in the long run.
The cream is used to treat eczema, acne, and superficial bacterial infections such as impetigo. It only has two cheaply sourced active ingredients: 1.25 percent percent iodoquinol and 1 percent aloe polysaccharide, an extract from the aloe vera plant.
The price surge is the latest in a long line of pharmaceutical companies hiking up their prices, much to the annoyance of consumers.
Last summer, Martin Shkreli became the face of pharmaceutical company price hikes after his company increased the price of Daraprim, a medication used by sufferers of HIV, from $13.50 to $750 per pill.
The Shkreli-scandal was followed this summer by the price of Mylan’s EpiPen rising from about $94 for a two-pack of injectable epinephrine to around $600.