Rising Costs of Otic Drops: Review of a National Database

Andrew E. Bluher, Stephanie Moody-Antonio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: US prescription drug prices have increased substantially during the past decade and now account for approximately 17% of total US health expenditures. Otic drop prices are of particular interest given their common use in otolaryngologic clinical practice. We hypothesized that otic drop prices increased at a rate significantly higher than the overall inflation rate. We considered potential causes for otic drop price fluctuations during this period and whether they could be correlated with corporate restructuring events. Methods: Publicly available data on otic antibiotic drop pricing was assessed from 2012 to 2020 and were correlated with contemporaneous publicly available information about corporate and political events. Results: CiproHC (Alcon Laboratories, Inc., Fort Worth, TX, US), Ciprodex (Alcon Laboratories, Inc., Fort Worth, TX, US), Cortisporin-TC (Endo Pharmaceuticals, Dublin, Ireland), Coly-Mycin S (JHP Pharmaceuticals, LLC, Rochester, MI, US), generic neomycin-polymixin-HC otic drop, ciprofloxacin otic drop, and ofloxacin otic had overall change in cost between January 2014 and January 2020 of 69.9%, 63%, 268.9%, 219.5%, 232.5%, 13%, and 62.4%, respectively. Generic ofloxacin otic drop showed the most price fluctuation, temporarily rising 945% from July 2015 to its peak price of $26/mL in October 2016. Conclusion: Otic drop prices have been volatile, with overall price increases higher than overall inflation. Drug pricing is not transparent, making it difficult for prescribers and patients alike to be cost conscious when choosing the best therapy. We outline six factors that contribute to high US medication prices and also highlight two examples of otic drops that underwent significant price fluctuation during the studied period. Level of Evidence: V Laryngoscope, 131:E1069–E1075, 2021.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1069-E1075
JournalLaryngoscope
Volume131
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Drug costs otic drops
  • healthcare economics
  • healthcare policy

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