Monday, October 19, 2015

Riddle me this: Common medication price diffs

30 grams is $282.83
Ivermectin -- horse wormer -- is not just used to worm horses. It has been around forever,  developed in the 1970's in Japan. As a medication, it has had a dramatic impact on human lives globally, as this *medical journal article on Ivermectin describes.

Ivermectin is an awesome drug, but it ain't exactly new.  Recall from a previoius post that I have rosacea. I finally got in to see a dermatologist, and she told me about potential treatments.

Turns out one treatment is Ivermectin! I know the drug, so I was a bit shocked when my dermatologist quoted me the price for the Ivermectin-based Soolantra she is recommending. Without insurance, I would need to pay over $250 for 30 grams!

So compare the horse wormer to the high-end-skin-doctor stuff...
  • $9.43 per gram of Ivermectin 1% solution for Rosacea treatment ($282 for a 1% 30-gram tube)
  • 50 cents/gram for ivermectin 2% for horses (double the strength), or  $3 a 2%  6-gram tube
I feel lucky that this is not a drug I must-have, and that I have insurance to off-set costs. Have I tried the tube wormer? Not tellin'.

*Proc Jpn Acad Ser B Phys Biol Sci. 2011 Feb 10; 87(2): 13–28.


  1. so you put it on your skin? I would probably try it.

  2. Have to grin a bit here. There was a hoof conditioner on the market that in a one pound or so jar cost around $9 for use on horses. Then someone discovered it really was good for human fingernails as well. Sure enough, it showed up on the human market in little tubes for about $10.

    The other amusing situation was the horse shampoos--in particular the color enhancing ones. This time, however, women caught on quickly and came to the horse supply stores to stock up. Now, I see "Mane and Tail" shampoo on the drug store shelves all the time.

  3. FishMox (aquarium amoxicillin, powder form usually) is amazing if you know you have a bacterial infection so... If the equine (or even for dogs/cats, since they often take it as well) works for you, awesome. It's really ridiculous that there's such a difference in medication prices.

  4. I would totally be using the wormer! haha! #noshame

  5. If you look at HeartGuard for dogs.... Yep, it's Ivermectin too. At a lot different price as well.

  6. Prices in human medicine are literally darts at a dartboard in a dark room.

    Also, just another note about ivermectin, a 2015 Nobel prize winning development in physiology.

  7. That is disgusting but I am not surprised in the least. When I went on 1x daily thyroid medicine, it was supposed to cost like $30/mo, i.e. a dollar a pill. I was therefore puzzled to find a jar of 1,000 thyroid pills for sale in a horse catalog for around $50, I think? And the pet ones may have been even cheaper. I was so broke I really did ask my vet only half-jokingly if she'd write me a prescription. She (sensibly) sensibly demurred and luckily my aunt, an RN who worked in a GP's office, was able to get me enough samples that I kept going for several years with them until I had better insurance.

    Even now my doggie really is on thyroid medication but I wouldn't dream of taking it, largely because my 42 lb. dog takes literally 12 times the amount of med I do (and I weigh 3x as much as her). I have NO clue why this is the case but obviously our endocrine systems are completely different!

    Glad you got into the Derm's office. They are notoriously difficult to access. Hope your skin clears up soon!

  8. The price for ivermectin dewormer for one month of heart worm prevention in my 10 lbs dog is $12. For the horse? $3.

    Thanks to a local vet I have learned how to make heartworm prevention from liquid stock animal ivermectin at a cost of $0.05 per dose.


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