I wanted to write today about the cost of acne. As you all know if you watch TV, we are inundated with commercials about how to treat acne and the latest new offer from companies like Proactive and Nuetrogena with their free trials, money back guarantees and testimonials. The interesting thing to me is that many of the prescription medications for acne are far more effective and usually far less expensive. The only problem with them is you have to see a medical provider to get them. Most of the proven acne medications have been around for a long time, like Accutane or Isotretinoin, which is the generic name, there is also drugs like Minocycline, Doxycycline, Cephelexin, and even Amoxacillin. Strangely, the cost of Doxycycline has recently gone through the roof. According to some of the reps for the newer, low dose, but more expensive versions of Doxycycine, it is because the factories that make it were wiped out by Hurricane Sandy. I find that hard to believe because most of these older drugs come from India. The cost of generic Accutane(Isotretinoin) came down to as low as $125 for 30 pills, but then the company that makes name brand Accutane stopped selling it in the US and the price jumped up. Now a 30 day supply of Isotretinoin is about $250. The good news is there are some new versions of Isotretinoin that are being marketed as being cheaper if you use their coupons. One drug in particular is called Zenatane and it is mail order. We fax all of the patient information to Promius Pharma, and they contact the patient for shipping and sometimes payment information and the Isotretinoin is shipped within a few days. With insurance it is sometimes costing nothing, cash paying patients are paying about $195 for 30 pills. That is the best price out there right now. Then there is the issue of paying a provider to get the meds. The interesting thing to me is I often charge nothing for the first visit so that I can give patients their options while they decide what they want to do for their acne. When it comes to the hassle of Ipledge, I charge $125-$150 for cash paying patients, which includes the office visit and doing all of the labs. We charge more for females because we have to do a pregnancy test. But as many of my patients are college students from other parts of the country and even Canada, I am dumbfounded when I hear what they are being charged for office visits and labs. It also seems that some providers don’t try very hard to save the patient money with their prescriptions. This even occurs with local providers. Accutane treatment is expensive, but it is an investment too. Unfortunately there are fewer of the truly inexpensive meds to choose from all the time. But there are still alot of good options and there are ways to make great drugs like Isotretinoin more affordable. Don’t waste your money on anything you see on TV though. Use a gentle cleanser and come see me.