Jublia Treatment Costs Thousands of Dollars per Toenail! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
The health care system could save millions of dollars on treating toenail fungus by cutting out one test, researchers say. But that means that some people might take medication they didn't need.

The bills can rack up fast when trying to cure toenail fungus, and it's not always easy to know which drug to use. Costs can range from over $2,000 for treating one nail to just $10 for a pill that treats all 10 toes but could have bad side effects. Then there are the costly lab tests to confirm that the curling yellow rot chewing through a toenail is in fact mold.

Right now, the most effective treatment for toenail mold or onychomycosis is a pill called terbinafine. It costs about $10 for a full treatment, which can take up to six months. It's so cheap that it would be more cost-effective to administer the drug to everyone that clinicians think has toenail fungus, rather than spending extra money to confirm the diagnosis in a lab, which can cost up to $148, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology on Wednesday.

Dermatologists know now that the chance for liver damage from terbinafine is less than 1 in 100,000, and yet the message persists. "I think that 'people' think that terbinafine is dangerous because their primary care doctors and even dermatologists have told them that!" Dr. Matt Kanzler, a dermatologist at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, tells Shots in an email.

Under the influence of this misconception, Kanzler says both physicians and patients elect to use more expensive topical treatments, like a new drug called Jublia that costs thousands of dollars per nail and works about 15 percent of the time. They want to avoid any potential liver injury and malpractice lawsuits. "The problem with this drug is that it isn't 'lifesaving' like cardiac medicine," he says. "As soon as there are articles mention 'you should use this safe topical medicine,' doctors say, 'I am not going to put myself at risk.'"

This is part of the reason why health care is so expensive. Insurance premiums hurt, even for cheap plans. The cost to treat even minor nuisances can skyrocket. Then, a toenail fungus is not just a toenail fungus. It becomes an insatiable cash-scarfing beast latched onto the end of your foot