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This Acne Treatment Now Costs Almost $10,000

The U.S. drugmaker Novum Pharma has raised the price of two of its skin care treatments that are commonly used to treat conditions such as eczema and acne to nearly $10,000, according to figures by the Financial Times.

Last week, Novum raised the price of a 60g tube of Aloquin, which is used to treat conditions such as eczema and acne, by 128% to $9,561, the Financial Times reports. The drugmaker increased the price, Alcortin A, another skincare treatment, by the same amount. And a third ointment, Novacort, saw a $2,956 price increase from $4,186 to $7,142 for a 29g tube.

But what’s particularly baffling about the Aloquin price hike is that the two main ingredients in the ointment are rather inexpensive. According to the Financial Times, Aloquin includes iodoquinol, an antibiotic that has been around for decades that prevents fungal growth, and aloe polysaccharides, an ingredient that comes from the aloe vera plant. A generic form of a similar cream that also contains iodoquinol costs less than $30, and a tube of aloe vera can be purchased for just a few dollars.

What’s more? Aloquin’s label says it is “possibly effective,” meaning there’s only small amount of clinical evidence suggesting the product is safe and will work, the Financial Times reports.


“From a clinical standpoint, a drug listed as ‘possibly effective’ by the FDA, shouldn’t be a likely treatment choice by doctors — especially not with a $10,000 price tag,” Michael Rea, chief executive of Rx Savings Solutions, first told the Financial Times.

Overall, the price of Aloquin has increased 3,900% since May of 2015. Novum has steadily increased its price since that time, when it acquired the drug from Primus Pharmaceuticals, its previous owner. A spokesperson for the drug company told the Financial Times that revenue from increased prices would go to investing in “schemes that ensured more patients could access the medicine.”

More than doubling the price of its ointments, the Chicago-based group’s price increases comes less than a month after that of the EpiPen, the life-saving medical innovation for people with severe food allergies. A pack of two EpiPen now costs around $600—a 500% price hike that has caused outrage, and even prompted Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to attack and question pharma giant Mylan, the producer of EpiPen.

Fortune has reached out to Novum and will update the story if it responds.