Here's one reason why your psoriatic disease treatment costs so much

| Tamara Miller

The past two years have seen some pretty interesting developments in psoriatic disease treatment.

Otezla, a new type of oral drug approved last year for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, has been effective for psoriasis of the scalp, nails and feet. Cosentyx was approved earlier this year for psoriasis and had great success in clinical trials, with 82 percent of patients seeing 75 percent improvement and more than a quarter getting completely clear.

There are plenty of drugs still in development that are getting researchers excited, too: a topical based on a natural remedy that might be able to stop flares before they start; an ointment that can treat stubborn nail psoriasis just as well as corticosteroids, and a biologic drug that can get patients completely clear after one dose, just to name a few.

Still, plenty of people with psoriatic disease are struggling to get the treatments they need. About half of people surveyed by the National Psoriasis Foundation say they had trouble getting the treatment they wanted. About 20 percent aren’t happy with their treatments and 13 percent say they don’t treat because, well, nothing works!

So why aren’t more psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis treatments available?

And why, oh why, are they so expensive?

Here are some reasons: The U.S. drug approval process is lengthy and spendy. PhRMA, the advocacy group for the biopharmaceutical industry, estimates that its members spent $48.5 billion just on research and development of drugs in 2012. That amount does not include the cost of ushering a drug through trials, or the cost of manufacturing, distributing and marketing a drug.

The animation below provides some eye-opening detail about the drug approval process. Did you know that tube of topical treatment or that biologic drug sitting in your fridge probably took 10-15 years to develop? 

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For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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