Why is Calcipotriene so Expensive?

why is calcipotriene so expensive
why is calcipotriene so expensive

Why is calcipotriene so expensive? Calcipotriene is a medication used to treat psoriasis. It is a synthetic form of vitamin D3, which is known to help control the growth of skin cells.

While this medication is effective in treating psoriasis, it is also quite expensive compared to other treatments. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the high cost of calcipotriene and how it affects patients.

What is Calcipotriene?

Calcipotriene is a synthetic form of vitamin D3. It is used topically to treat psoriasis and is available as a cream, ointment, or solution. Calcipotriene is also sometimes combined with a topical steroid to increase its effectiveness.

How Does Calcipotriene Work?

Calcipotriene works by slowing down the growth of skin cells, which helps to reduce inflammation and redness associated with psoriasis. It also helps to normalize the skin cell cycle, which can help to prevent new patches of psoriasis from forming.

Alternatives to Calcipotriene

There are several alternatives to calcipotriene that are used to treat psoriasis. These include topical steroids, coal tar, salicylic acid, and phototherapy. While these treatments can be effective, they may not be as effective as calcipotriene for some patients.

Why is Calcipotriene so Expensive?

There are several reasons why calcipotriene is so expensive. These include:

Research and Development Costs

The development of new drugs is a costly and time-consuming process. Pharmaceutical companies invest billions of dollars in research and development to bring new drugs to market. The costs associated with researching and developing calcipotriene are passed on to consumers in the form of high prices.

Patent Protection

Pharmaceutical companies are granted patents on new drugs, which gives them exclusive rights to produce and sell the drug for a certain period of time. This allows them to recoup their research and development costs and make a profit. However, when the patent expires, other companies can produce and sell generic versions of the drug, which are typically much cheaper.

Marketing Costs

Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars on marketing their drugs to doctors and patients. This includes advertising campaigns, sales representatives, and educational programs. These costs are also passed on to consumers in the form of higher drug prices.

Production Costs

The production of drugs is a complex process that involves multiple steps and requires specialized equipment and facilities. The cost of producing calcipotriene is higher than some other drugs due to the complexity of the manufacturing process.

Insurance and Reimbursement

Insurance companies often negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of drugs for their members. However, calcipotriene is often excluded from insurance coverage or is subject to high copays and deductibles. This can make it difficult for patients to afford the medication.

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The Impact of High Costs on Patients

The high cost of calcipotriene can have a significant impact on patients. Many patients with psoriasis require ongoing treatment, which can be expensive even with insurance coverage. For patients without insurance or with high deductible plans, the cost of calcipotriene can be prohibitive.

Some patients may try to forgo treatment altogether due to the high cost, which can lead to the worsening of their psoriasis symptoms and a decreased quality of life. Others may try to stretch their medication by using it less frequently or in smaller amounts, which can also have negative consequences.


  1. Is calcipotriene the only treatment for psoriasis?
    • No, there are several other treatments available for psoriasis, including topical steroids, coal tar, salicylic acid, and phototherapy.
  2. Why is calcipotriene so much more expensive than other psoriasis treatments?
    • Calcipotriene is more expensive due to the high costs associated with research and development, patent protection, marketing, and production.
  3. Does insurance cover the cost of calcipotriene?
    • Insurance may cover the cost of calcipotriene, but it is often subject to high copays and deductibles or excluded from coverage altogether.
  4. Can patients with psoriasis still lead a normal life while taking calcipotriene?
    • Yes, many patients with psoriasis are able to lead normal lives while taking calcipotriene or other psoriasis treatments.
  5. Is there any way to reduce the cost of calcipotriene?
    • Patients can work with their healthcare provider and insurance company to find affordable options for calcipotriene, such as using generic versions or using coupons, or discount programs.


Calcipotriene is an effective medication for treating psoriasis, but its high cost can make it difficult for patients to access. The reasons behind the high cost include research and development costs, patent protection, marketing costs, production costs, and insurance and reimbursement issues.

Patients may be impacted by the high cost of calcipotriene by forgoing treatment or using less of the medication than they need. It is important for patients to discuss all of their treatment options with their healthcare provider and to work with their insurance company to find affordable options.

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