Soolantra more expensive than Finacea, but better, apparently

A study has been released that headlines a result that even though Soolantra costs more than Finacea, overall it is actually cheaper than Finacea. The study uses a complicated formula to deduce that even though Soolantra sells for more per tube than Finacea, the overall cost versus the benefit you receive shows that Soolantra is “cheaper” than Finacea.

The researchers set out to compare the amount of money you would pay for Finacea, Soolantra and Metronidazole 0.75%, taking into account how much in total you would pay for 3 year’s worth of symptoms relief.

After a detailed analysis, the researchers deduced that;

  • Soolantra once per day was more expensive, but resulted in a better clinical benefit than metronidazole 0.75%.
  • When using the number of disease free days achieved, over a 3 year period, Soolantra is cheaper than metronidazole 0.75%
  • after 3 years Soolantra has a lower total cost than Finacea
  • after 3 years Soolantra has a lower `total healthcare cost’ than both Finacea and metronidazole 0.75%

Why Not Metrogel 1%?

This is one of the disappointments for me about this study. The researchers did not compare Finacea and Soolantra to Metrogel 1%, the gold standard for metronidazole as far as Galderma is concerned. By comparing against Metrogel 0.75%, the price per day of treatment was able to be averaged across 5 generic and branded versions – reducing the daily cost ofmetronidazole to $5.08.

Metrogel 1% Gel Pump Price

We don’t have good user feedback for the pricing of Galderma’s Metrogel 1% – but we do know that it is still protected from generics by patents, and usually costs around $300 USD per 55gm pump. This study could have been much more interesting if Galderma was brave enough to use their best metronidazole product. That was not the aim of the study of course, I digress.

Generic Metrogel

The branded metronidazole compared in this study was Metrocream from Galderma, and the generic brands were sourced from

  • Fougera,
  • Actavis Pharma,
  • G&W Labs and Harris Pharm.

So here you go, published confirmation of manufacturers of generic metronidazole 0.75% in the US.

Article Abstract

Cost-Effectiveness of Ivermectin 1% Cream in Adults with Papulopustular Rosacea in the United States

J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2016;22(6):01-13

Alain Taieb, MD, Linda Stein Gold, MD, Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD, Viktor Dansk, MSc, Evelina Bertranou, MSc.

BACKGROUND: Papulopustular rosacea is a chronic skin disease involving central facial erythema in combination with papules and pustules. Papulopustular rosacea is treated with topical, systemic, or a combination of topical and systemic therapies. Currently approved topical therapies include azelaic acid gel/cream/foam twice daily (BID) and metronidazole cream/gel/lotion BID. Ivermectin 1% cream once daily (QD) is a new topical agent for the treatment of papulopustular rosacea that has been approved for the management of inflammatory lesions of rosacea and offers an alternative to current treatments.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of ivermectin 1% cream QD compared with current topical treatments in order to understand the cost of adding ivermectin as a treatment option that would bring additional clinical benefit for adults with papulopustular rosacea in the United States.

CONCLUSIONS: Ivermectin 1% cream QD had favorable incremental cost-effectiveness when compared with metronidazole 0.75% cream BID and dominated azelaic acid 15% gel BID in the treatment of papulopustular rosacea in the United States.

Therefore, ivermectin 1% cream QD may be a good first-line treatment for papulopustular rosacea, providing additional clinical benefit at no or low additional cost.

DISCLOSURES: This study was sponsored by Galderma Laboratories. The sponsor was involved in the design of the model structure but not in the collection of the data used to populate the model. Manuscript preparation was also funded by Galderma. Taieb is an investigator and advisor for Galderma. Gold is an investigator for Galderma. Feldman is a consultant and speaker for Galderma and has received grants from Galderma. Dansk and Bertranou received a research grant from Galderma to conduct this study.

Dansk and Bertranou contributed to the design of the model structure, the sourcing and inputting of the data, and the interpretation of the results. Taieb, Feldman, and Gold contributed to the interpretation of the results. All authors reviewed draft versions of the manuscript and gave permission for the submission of the final version.

What does this all mean?

So why did these researchers go to all this effort of getting official pricing for a handful of products, pricing doctors visits, take into account how long the product works for etc. etc. etc. ? Well it seems clear that because Galderma has sponsored this study, they would like some honest statements in order to marker their new product Soolantra.

We all know that prescription treatments are extremely expensive in the US, so one can imagine that Soolantra will now be able to be promoted as actually cheaper than Finacea. So don’t be surprised if you see an ad in the future telling you that Soolantra is the best and cheapest rosacea topical from your doctor, or something like that.

Are you convinced?

I wonder if a price comparison of any type between metrgoel, finacea and soolantra would make any difference to your treatment choice anyway? Don’t you just want something to work and will go with what your doctor suggests? Maybe that will be the result of this research, doctors will be willing to suggest Soolantra knowing it might be an overall cheaper option.

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About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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8 Reader Comments

  1. David Pascoe says:

    Comment via fb.

    “I tried Finacea and didn’t like it. Then my GP suggested trying Soolantra and it has worked the best of any rosacea drug I’ve tried. Now I’m just waiting for my insurance company to tell me they no longer cover it like they did with the Finacea.”

    • Marilynne says:

      I just go Soolantra (called rosiver Ivermectin Cream 1%) in Canada. Used it last night and it has already helped. My doctor prescribed me a 60g tube to use for 6 weeks at bedtime. It costs $200 Canadian a tube and was not covered by our drug plan. I am very hopeful that it will cure my terrible red bumps and swelling on my face as it already is much better.

    • Joe Masse says:

      Was using Soolantra, then retired and am on a Medicare Supplementary Rx Plan.
      Now the Health Care provider is telling my doctor we have to try Finacea, a Tier 3
      drug first. Am now doing paperwork for independent appeal to use Soolantra.
      Finacea does not reduce redness, which I had accomplished with Soolantra. The
      Finacea specifications says it does not reduce redness.

  2. Leslie says:

    I got Soolantra from Allure pharmacy for $25 cash a tube after they said my insurance would not cover it. Within one day my skin was clearing from the tiny pimples and flaky skin. It’s been a week.Skin is so much better than before. I’m sold on soolantra so far.. AND it was very affordable!!

    • David Pascoe says:

      Hi Leslie, the coupon and reduced price is only available if you have full medical insurance that covers Soolantra. For those not in that special group, unfortunately only have the option of the full retail price.

      • Leslie says:

        I was told my insurance did not cover it, and therefore the pharmacy offered that deal actually!!

  3. Noreen says:

    I’m about to fill a prescription for Soolantra, can you provide the link for the coupon please. Hopeful it helps my rhinophyma which is in the early stages.

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