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Research Letter |

Variation in the Cost of Generic Topical Corticosteroids

Alexander Skojec, BS1; Galen Foulke, MD2; Joslyn S. Kirby, MD, MS2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
2Department of Dermatology, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania
JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(11):1255-1256. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.2394.
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This database analysis shows that the mean average wholesale price and copayment for generic topical corticosteroids are not proportional to potency and that larger units are more cost effective.

Prescription medications accounted for $307 billion in the United States in 2010, or about 12% of all US health care spending. Prescribing generic rather than brand-name medications, including topical medications, has been encouraged as a way to curb spending on prescription medications. In fact, the growth of spending on prescription medication has decreased in association with increased use of generic drugs.1 However, practitioners and patients can be frustrated by the affordability of even older generic medications.2 This paradoxical situation came to light with the shortage, and subsequent increased cost, of doxycycline hydrochloride in 2013. Recently, we had many patients experience a high cost for topical clobetasol propionate; we undertook this study to investigate the variation in costs of generic topical corticosteroids of various potencies.

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