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What are the most often prescribed drugs written for by dermatologists? They include generic creams and ointments that are used to treat skin rashes, scabies, and athlete’s foot. So aren’t generics suppose to be inexpensive. Unfortunately, not any more’; significant price increases in these generics are stumping doctors and patients. In a world of prescription drug plans, doctors that prescribe without deference to drug costs, expensive FDA approval, and private equity involvement, the generic drug companies are ignoring costs and going right to the bottom line – reporting incredible net incomes for these specialized companies.


1. The article mentioned a jump in betamethasone dipropionate cream. What percentage increase has it seen since 2008?

2. The article also mentioned permethrin cream. What percentage increase has it seen since 2008?

3. Explain the illogical world of drug pricing in a summary paragraph. Include in the summary whether you think this defies basic economics.

4. Do you think that higher generic prices are here to stay? Please give at least three specific reasons to support your conclusions.

5. Do you think that some type of price regulation is needed? If so, what would you suggest?


Thomas, K. (2012). Soaring Ointment Prices Are A Dermatologic Mystery. The New York Times, August 9 (Retrievable online at