Novum Pharma's $240, semi-useless acne cream now costs $10,000/tube

The cost of Aloquin — an acne cream based on iodoquinol and aloe, whose component ingredients cost virtually nothing — was raised by 128% this week by manufacturer Novum Pharma, who now charge $9,561 for a 60g tube.

The FDA classes Aloquin as "possibly effective," meaning that "there is only limited clinical evidence suggesting it is safe and works as intended." Novum makes some other acne creams — Alcortin A, which went up by 128% this week as well, and Novacort, which went from $4,186 to $7,142 per 29g tube.

As recently as May 2015, a tube of Aloquin cost $241.50, but shortly after acquiring the drug from its previous owner, Primus Pharmaceuticals, Novum raised its price overnight by 1,100 per cent. In January it again increased the price before raising it a third time last week, according to the figures seen by the FT.

Overall, the price of Aloquin has increased by nearly 3,900 per cent since May of last year.

The strategy of acquiring drugs and then implementing sharp price increases — known as "buy and raise" — has become so controversial that many pharmaceutical executives have pledged to abstain from the tactic.

Drugmaker raises price of acne cream to $10,000 a tube
[David Crow/Financial Times]