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Why is Tacrolimus Ointment So Expensive?

speciality medications

April 14, 2023
Tacrolimus Ointment

Tacrolimus ointment can cost as much as $12.00 per gram. For a medication many eczema and atopic dermatitis sufferers need to have on hand all the time, that’s a lot.

You might wonder:

Why is tacrolimus so expensive? Can I get tacrolimus for a lower price?

Our international drugstore and online Canadian pharmacy has a few strategies you can use to save money. Read on to learn how to get tacrolimus ointment for up to 52% off American prices.

Why is Tacrolimus Ointment So Expensive?

Tacrolimus ointment, or brand-name Protopic Ointment, is a topical immunosuppressant treatment. Doctors prescribe tacrolimus to treat eczema and related skin symptoms, such as atopic dermatitis (or itchy, dry, and scaly skin rashes).

Often, corticosteroids are the first-line treatment for atopic dermatitis. They can be very effective.

However, some people don’t tolerate topical corticosteroids very well at all. For these patients and anyone interested in pursuing effective eczema topical treatments, tacrolimus can be a great option.

Tacrolimus is also available as an oral medication, but for a very different type of treatment. This can be confusing!

Oral tacrolimus, which comes in capsule and liquid form, helps patients who have undergone organ transplant surgery avoid rejection of their new kidney, liver, or heart. Whether you’re looking for post-op transplant surgery support or relief from itchy skin symptoms, just ensure you get the proper form of the drug.

Unfortunately, Tacrolimus in all of its forms is quite expensive. Here, we’ll focus on tacrolimus ointment prices and ways to save on the topical product you need.

How Much Does Tacrolimus Ointment Cost?

In the United States, one 30g tube of 0.03% generic tacrolimus costs around $150.00 ($5.00 per gram). Most people find that this size of product lasts for between one and three months. As a typical starting treatment plan with tacrolimus requires about six weeks of consistent administration, you may only need one tube.

You may require far more if your eczema or atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition.

Although tacrolimus generally isn’t a permanent treatment patients take daily, it can be a “non-continuous chronic treatment.”

In other words, you may not have to buy a new tube every month, but if your dermatitis flares regularly, you’ll need to keep your medicine cabinet stocked. Depending on how much skin you need to treat, you could still go through several tubes of tacrolimus ointment per year.

You could pay hundreds of dollars on tacrolimus ointment yearly.

Or you could buy your generic tacrolimus ointment through an international drugstore and online Canadian pharmacy. Here, at, you can buy tacrolimus ointment starting at $2.40 per gram, in a 10g tube for about $24.00 (up to 52% savings).

If you require brand-name Protopic Ointment, the tacrolimus costs are much higher – which means there’s a chance to save even more through

Tacrolimus Ointment

How Much Does Protopic Cost?

One 30g tube of 0.03% Protopic Ointment can start as high as $315.00 for American patients.

(And with the prescription drug industry constantly raising prices, there’s no guarantee that number won’t go up in the future.)

While you probably won’t have to spend $315.00 monthly for the amount of Protopic Ointment you need, you may still have to pay upwards of $3,000.00 yearly to make sure you always have this ointment when you need it.

Alternatively, you can buy 30g of brand-name Protopic Ointment through for around $100.00, or up to 68% savings.

Why is Protopic So Expensive?

Protopic Ointment (tacrolimus) is a brand-name medication. Brand-name meds are usually far more expensive than their generic counterparts because their price helps cover the brand’s marketing, regulatory, and R&D costs – and huge profits!

It’s important to note that, in America, the government has no say over how much prescription drug companies can charge for their products.

It’s different in Canada (and many other countries) – which is one way international and Canadian drugstores can keep their prices so low.

That’s why brand-name Protopic is expensive. But generic tacrolimus ointment is still more costly than some alternative eczema treatments.

Why? (And is there anything you can do to make that price lower?)

Why is Tacrolimus So Expensive?

Although generic tacrolimus prices are lower than brand-name Protopic costs, generic tacrolimus is still expensive.

As it turns out, manufacturing even generic tacrolimus is complicated. Tacrolimus ointment can only be made in small batches, requiring several pieces of highly specialized equipment.

And, even though the cost of generic tacrolimus doesn’t need to cover a sky-high marketing and branding budget, generic tacrolimus manufacturers still need to distribute the drug. They still need to source supplies to make the drug. That costs money. Those costs get passed down to you, as the end user of the product.

Fortunately, just because tacrolimus is expensive doesn’t mean you have no option but to pay exorbitant prices for eczema relief.

Ways to Save on Tacrolimus Costs: Buying Protopic and Tacrolimus for Less

Here are some cost-saving strategies for both generic tacrolimus and brand-name Protopic Ointment.

Is There Tacrolimus Ointment Financial Assistance Available?

Since Tacrolimus is an expensive medication that many patients require long-term, financial assistance programs are available.

That’s the good news. The bad news? These programs can be challenging to qualify for. Limited resources are available, so the programs that give out aid have to be very selective.

Your doctor is an excellent resource for learning more about these programs. Ask them if they know of any financial assistance available for tacrolimus costs, and whether they believe you’re eligible. To apply, you will likely need proof from your doctor demonstrating the medical necessity for tacrolimus, so it’s best to start with your physician and go from there.

If your physician is unaware of any financial assistance programs or you do not believe you’d qualify, don’t worry.

As beneficial as these programs are, they’re not the only solution.

It may be an even more reliable solution to find a low-cost way to get tacrolimus on your own, instead of relying on a program that could end anytime.

Tacrolimus Ointment

Is There Generic Tacrolimus Ointment for Lower Prices?

Tacrolimus ointment is the generic version of the drug. Its price per use is significantly lower than brand-name Protopic’s cost.

Generic tacrolimus costs about $5.00 per gram in America (or $2.50 per gram through Brand-name Protopic Ointment retails for around $10.50 per gram in the States – or approximately $3.30 per gram through an online Canada pharmacy and international drugstore.

If your doctor has prescribed generic tacrolimus and you want to try Protopic Ointment, ask them about making the switch.

While generic medications are very, very similar to their brand-name alternatives, there are slight differences between the two – for example, different ratios of inactive or filler ingredients.

If you’re reacting to tacrolimus, it may be worth trying Protopic Ointment to see if you have a better experience.

Can I Buy the Lowest-Strength Tacrolimus Ointment for Cheaper?

Tacrolimus and Protopic Ointment are available in two concentrations: 0.03% and 0.1%. The 0.1% formulation is significantly more potent.

Generally, people will start with the gentler formulation – 0.03% – and level up as needed, if they don’t see the results they want within a reasonable amount of time.

There is a price difference between the two concentrations of tacrolimus ointment. Here’s a quick summary of United States pharmacy tacrolimus costs at the two concentrations:

  • 0.03% tacrolimus retails for around $5.00 per gram. 0.1% tacrolimus costs about $6.00.
  • 0.03% Protopic Ointment retails for around $10.50. 0.1% Protopic Ointment costs about $12.00.

At, you can save on the higher concentrations of both of these products. Here, you can buy 0.1% tacrolimus for about $3.80 per gram (up to 36% savings) and buy 0.1% Protopic Ointment for around $3.50 per gram (up to 70% savings).

Does Insurance Cover Tacrolimus Costs?

Some people may have insurance that covers a portion of their tacrolimus ointment costs.

That’s great – but it isn’t necessarily something that will make the ointment affordable long-term. For example, your insurance may only cover a small fraction of the drug’s cost. Or, if you have a high deductible health plan, your insurance may not even start paying anything until you’ve already spent hundreds of dollars on tacrolimus in a calendar year.

And, to make matters worse, insurance coverage isn’t always reliable.

Sometimes, people have to switch jobs and enroll in different insurance plans – or their employers make that decision by updating company healthcare. That can have repercussions on the medications covered for you.

Your insurance company could even decide to drop coverage of tacrolimus itself. This happens when a particular drug gets very expensive – the profit margins for the insurance company no longer justify providing coverage.

If your insurance plan does cover tacrolimus ointment, that’s great. Working with a pharmacy that provides reliably low prices still makes sense just in case you need an affordable solution without insurance long-term.

Tips for Saving on Tacrolimus Costs Long-Term

If you need to keep yourself or a loved one stocked with tacrolimus ointment for the foreseeable future – instead of just as a one-off treatment – you may have unique ways to save.

  • Consider buying a 40g or 60g tube of tacrolimus ointment. If you know you’ll use it within a timely manner (before the printed expiration date, or usually within six months of opening the tube), buying a larger amount of ointment will net you a cheaper per-gram tacrolimus cost.
  • Talk to your doctor about natural remedies, lifestyle changes, or OTC products that you can use with tacrolimus ointment to work towards extended eczema relief. Your goal doesn’t need to be eliminating tacrolimus ointment from your eczema care toolkit, but you may be able to use less, use a lower strength, or go longer between uses.
  • Buy from an international Canadian mail-order pharmacy to get prescription tacrolimus ointment. International pharmacies can often source safe, brand-name prescription drugs for far less than you’ll pay in America. And, in addition to lower retail prices, you’ll enjoy the convenience (and reduced costs) of not having to drive to a pharmacy and pay for your prescriptions in person.

Are There Alternatives to Tacrolimus Ointment?

Tacrolimus and brand-name Protopic Ointment are not the only topical medications for treating atopic dermatitis. These three alternatives may be worth exploring if you’re looking for other options:

  • Elidel is an anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal topical cream appropriate for treating eczema in anyone over 2. You can buy a 30g tube of brand Elidel for around $93.00 through
  • Topicort Cream is a corticosteroid medication. If you tolerate corticosteroids, Topicort Cream can effectively reduce swelling, redness, and inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis. You can buy 60g of brand Topicort Cream through for around $60.00.
  • Lidex Cream is a powerful glucocorticoid medication that relieves itchiness, redness, and inflammation associated with psoriasis, allergies, and eczema. You can buy 100g of brand Lidex Cream for around $86.00 through
Tacrolimus Ointment

Find Reliably Low Tacrolimus Ointment Prices at

You shouldn’t have to worry about financial obstacles standing between you and relief for atopic dermatitis. If you and your doctor believe that tacrolimus ointment or Protopic Ointment is something you should try, sky-high prescription costs shouldn’t stand in your way.

We agree! That’s why we work hard to make sure our costs are reliably low – and our checkout and shipping processes are reliably streamlined.

When you’re ready to buy tacrolimus ointment for less, check out what offers. Read our online pharmacy customer reviews – we’re proud to have a 4.8/5 start review across hundreds and thousands of verified customer testimonials! – or give our team of customer service representatives and pharmacists a call at 1-866-539-5330. is pleased to support you and your healthcare journey.

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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