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Why is Temovate Cream So Expensive?

high drug prices

March 1, 2021

There are many different types of creams available on the market to treat skin irritation, many of which are as versatile as they are effective — and Temovate is certainly no exception. This common topical steroid is useful in many different circumstances and is far more potent than anything you'd find over-the-counter in your local drugstore.

For everyday irritation from scratches or itchy fabrics, or even a mosquito bite, something over-the-counter like a hydrocortisone cream may do the trick. Mild itching can easily be remedied with a low dose of steroids. (Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream is typically 0.5%.)

When dealing with more serious skin conditions — especially those that come and go depending on stress levels and environmental factors — many people find they need additional help from a stronger medication. That's where prescriptions like Temovate come in handy.

Here's what you need to know about Temovate (clobetasol propionate), what conditions it can treat, how it works, and how much it costs.

What is Temovate?

Temovate is a topical medication that comes in a cream and an ointment. Which form you're prescribed is dependent upon the location of your affected skin and personal preference or reaction.

The active ingredient is clobetasol propionate, which is a potent topical corticosteroid. Potential side effects include irritation at the application site, a burning or stinging sensation where applied, and potentially skin discoloration (again, at the application site). It should never be applied to skin that is broken, such as on a cut or scratch.

Because it's a steroid, use of Temovate or its generic is not recommended beyond what a doctor has prescribed. Additionally, it should be applied and then left open to the air. Do not cover it up with a bandage. If improvement in your skin condition is not seen within two weeks, you should discontinue treatment and call your doctor for advice on how to proceed.

What is Temovate Used For?

Temovate is a very versatile drug that is used for many skin conditions, both acute and chronic — chronic in this sense meaning that the condition itself does not go away, but the symptoms can be managed by using this medication when necessary. Again, Temovate should not be used for more than two weeks if you're not seeing improvement.

Temovate is effective at treating painful, itchy skin, and is most often prescribed for the treatment of:

  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Bug bites
  • Insect stings
  • Poison Ivy rashes
  • General acute skin irritation

Skin reactions like rashes and inflammation occur because of a natural, normal immune response to an external stimulus. When you get a bug bite or are stung by a bee (provided you're not allergic to the insects), your immune system kicks in to tell your skin to heal itself. However, it's this exact response that typically causes the skin reaction — your body sends extra energy to the affected area, which causes redness and itching.

How Does Temovate Work?

Because many skin reactions are due to your body's natural immune response to an external trigger, Temovate is designed to suppress the immune response. When applied properly, Temovate absorbs into the skin and disrupts the production of inflammatory chemicals that have been flagged by the immune system as the source of the problem.

In the case of skin irritation, inflammation is a sign that your body is healing itself, inflammation isn't necessarily a "good" thing. In some cases, inflammation begets inflammation, which can become a self-perpetuating cycle.

Furthermore, sometimes these inflammatory chemicals make blood vessels expand and fluid to flood the affected area, which causes swelling. Swelling can cause a whole host of issues, but one of the most common with skin irritation is discomfort and additional pain. While Temovate cannot help the swelling itself, it can help reduce the inflammation that is causing the swelling and can help alleviate the itch you may feel due to it.

How Much Does Temovate Cost?

What Temovate Costs in the United States

The price of Temovate varies widely depending on where you get it. A 30-gram tube of Temovate can cost anywhere from $270.00 to $340.00 in the United States, and a 60 gram tube starts at about $470.00. Regardless of the size of the tube of cream or ointment, the potency remains the same — 0.05%, which classifies it as an ultra-high potency topical steroid.

Because Temovate has been on the market for quite some time, there are a couple generics readily available. In the United States, the price for a 30-gram tube of clobetasol propionate cream can range anywhere from $30.00 to $50.00. The price of ointment is similar, and there is also a liquid solution available for those who need to use it on their scalp (ointment and cream aren't very suited for application in areas covered by long hair).

What Temovate Costs Online

It shouldn't be surprising that both the brand name Temovate and the generic version are both less expensive at We sell a 50-gram tube of Temovate cream for about $50.00 and the generic for about $35.00. The ointment form is similar in price, but we also have a 30-gram tube of generic clobetasol propionate available for about $21.00.

We sell the scalp solution in a couple different sizes as well. We sell a 60-milliliter bottle of brand name Temovate scalp solution for about $55.00 or a 100-milliliter bottle for about $92.00. The scalp solution also comes in a generic form in a 60-milliliter bottle for about $39.00.

We also have access to a scalp treatment that is a lotion instead of a liquid solution. Brand name Temovate runs about $75.00 for a 60-milliliter bottle, whereas the same size bottle of the generic version sells for about $45.00.

What's the Difference Between Oil and Cream?

Lotions and creams are easily confused, whether we're talking about medication or over-the-counter topical solutions for dry skin. Which is suitable for your specific situation depends on the skin irritation you're dealing with — sometimes lotions are more appropriate, and sometimes, creams are a better bet. (Dermatologists can help you determine which is a good fit.)

Generally speaking, lotions have a higher water content mixed with a little bit of oil in addition to the active ingredient. Having more water in their makeup makes them thinner and easily absorbed by the skin. Because there isn't a high oil ratio, lotion tends to feel less greasy than creams do.

While creams are also a mixture of oil and water, the ratio is much closer to 50-50, which means less water and more oil than lotions. Because there is less water, creams tend to be quite thick, which allows for them to sit on top of the skin and sink in slowly. The thickness of the cream is why you typically find them in tubs or tubes as opposed to bottles with pumps at the top — they would likely clog the pump, or at the very least, make it more difficult to get out.

The cream form of Temovate is a better solution on bare skin because it will stay on the affected skin longer, which allows it to work for longer, and should help stretch the life of your medication. Because lotions sink into the skin so quickly, you may run the risk of using too much because you may feel like it's absorbing too quickly into your skin. As mentioned before, this is a high potency steroid, so using more than the recommended amount of Temovate can have consequences.

If you're choosing to forego the scalp solution form of Temovate (or it just doesn't seem to work as well for you), the scalp lotion is the next best bet because its thinner consistency will allow the medication to reach your scalp instead of getting stuck in your hair. The lotion is also well suited for people with very short hair (like a military-style buzz cut) or no hair at all.

These same principles apply to the ointment form of Temovate — there is more oil in ointment than in lotion (this is implied in the root of the word "ointment"), which allows it to stay on top of your skin longer and to sink into the dermis slowly.

The Price Difference Between Canada and the U.S.

While there are plenty of reasons contributing to the price difference between the price of medications internationally, including in Canada, versus the United States, the most significant determining factor is that the U.S. government has chosen to let the free market work it out.

Most industrialized countries, like Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, etc, negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies so they can help make sure their citizens can afford the medication they're approving to be sold within their borders. Thus far, the U.S. has decided not to follow that path — letting the free market decide what drug companies charge consumers.

Given that the price of medication in the U.S. is so much higher than nearly every other country on the planet, it's a safe assumption that this strategy isn't working out so well for many American citizens. Some argue that the only people these policies seem to be helping are pharmaceutical executives.

There are certainly other factors involved — the cost of research and development, the demand for certain drugs, the (complicated) role of patent law — but ultimately, the biggest reason Americans pay more is simply a lack of price regulation. That means to get cheaper and more affordable medication, you often have to buy prescription drugs from a Canadian pharmacy or international one.

Getting Started with a Canadian Pharmacy

If you've never purchased your prescription medication from an online pharmacy, it's understandable that you might be apprehensive. To help you get through the process with as little difficulty as possible, we have a wealth of information on our website, such as special feature articles where we discuss medications in depth, how-to-order pages, and a frequently asked questions page.

But if you look through our resources and you can't find the answer you're looking for — or even if you'd just prefer to talk to someone on the phone — we're available through our toll-free number seven days a week. In an age when most messages are sent via email or text, we recognize that some things are just better when they're done over the phone.

Our call center is filled with knowledgeable representatives who understand what we do, what medications we sell, and how to answer all your questions. If by chance, you have a question that stumps them (which is unlikely to happen), they know who to call to ask.

Believe it or not, our representatives actually enjoy talking to our customers. We like helping them solve their problems and finding their medications at a more affordable price. We believe that everyone should have access to the prescriptions they need, regardless of where they live.

A major point of pride for us is our stellar customer service. Included in this accomplishment is our lowest price guarantee, which promises that if you find the medication you need elsewhere at a cheaper price, we'll beat it.

If you have any questions at all about ordering your medication, feel free to contact us today. We're happy to walk you through the ordering process — we do it all the time. Our call center is available seven days a week for your convenience and is staffed by a dedicated team of knowledgeable representatives. The toll-free number is 1-866-539-5330, and if you'd like to message us during our off hours, you can email us. We'll get back to you promptly.

The information provided on the website is intended to facilitate awareness about healthcare products and medical conditions generally but it is not a substitute for professional medical attention or advice. You should always speak with a qualified healthcare practitioner before taking any prescription or non-prescription drug.
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