Even in an age when prescription drugs are increasingly expensive, a $9,500 tube of gel to combat scaly skin can gain notice — especially when the price spikes 128 percent overnight.
That’s what happened earlier this month when a little-known company called Novum Pharma suddenly hiked wholesale prices for all three of its dermatology products by whopping amounts.
We were curious. So we started poking around to learn more about Novum Pharma.
I really value your piece of work, Great post.
Todd,he needs a good ass kicking.That boy better be looking over his shoulder.
I was just prescribed Alcortin A gel by my dermatologist for what I consider to be a mild skin irritation. A compounding pharmacy was supposed to fill the script but let me know that my insurance wouldn’t cover it since they didn’t deem it medically necessary. They let me know that it could be filled for free from the manufacturer. I just received it via FedEx, completely free, including shipping. I’m at a loss. Why would they do this? I price compared and would have to pay about $3,500 to have it filled locally with a manufacturer’s coupon. The logic escapes me.
That’s the beauty of drug pricing. There is no logic to it. Wasting your time trying to figure it out.
How did you contact the manufacturer to get it filled? Wish you would have included those details
pharmvet1, exorbitant drug prices are not beautiful.
Antonio, just go to the manufacturer’s web site. Google (or use some other search website) the drug. For Alcortin you will get http://novumrx.com/alcortin.
I had considered Scopolamine to be the world’s scariest drug until last week when I made the mistake of using Alcortin A that my doctor gave me a sample of. I then spent one of the sickest two days of my life, horrible headache, nausea, vomiting, wet with sweat, and could not sleep.
I just prescribed Alcortin gel and feel angry and foolish ( more angry) , when I found out my patients insurance was billed and PAID $9500 for something I was told was $0. Then to add insult to injury was automatically refilled for another $9500 before the patient caught on and called me. I confronted the rep from Novum, but don’t think she understood why I , the patient and society should be outraged.
I’m curious why you thought the insurance would not be billed the $9500? The pharmacy has to bill someone for the cost of the medication, they can’t dispense it for free. Did the rep say the medication wasn’t to be billed through the patient’s prescription insurance? Did the patient present a discount card? Usually the primary insurance (patient’s insurance) is billed first then the discount card is billed second and picks up the remainder of the copay.
I too resent seeing prices skyrocket for medications that are not expensive to make just because the pharmaceutical company has a monopoly on it and want to pad their pockets.
Thank you DermNP for being concerned. It does not really affect you or your patient, correct? But I totally understand your concern. Americans need to do more. I am no one, I have nothing to do with any of that either. But if it helps you, I just want to say that big business and the drug companies in particular are really complicated. It is really difficult to know who is really paying what. The problem that most concerns me is if all these complications are allowing the big companies to eliminate the small ones. If that is what is going on then people need to do more.
I don’t agree, look at that https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/05/09/mit-scientists-made-an-invisible-second-skin-that-hides-wrinkles/
Don’t agree with what?
Don’t agree with what?
How does reimbursement work in the pharma world? Just name your price and third party pays? That would be crazy.
I would assume third party payers get an equity share of the various Pharma companies so they play dumb.
The Kaiser Foundation has prepared a report that will answer all your questions. It’s a complex process as you will see. Open the link and click on the link to the PDF file that contains the 32 page report.
Just to clarify this company is not affiliated with Novum Therapeutics, which is a contract research organization.
Notably these prescription creams aren’t FDA approved, so noone has even incurred that expense. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/EnforcementActivitiesbyFDA/SelectedEnforcementActionsonUnapprovedDrugs/default.htm. While the FDA does not have any control over prescription drug pricing, it could intervene in a number of other ways–eg, lack of demonstrating efficacy, deceptive advertising (for instance, that bullsh*tty aloe graphic at the Alcortin A website).
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