Why is Jublia so expensive?

Jublia is an expensive topical antifungal prescription drug used to treat toenail fungus. It is an effective treatment for fungal infections.

Around 25% of the population has athlete’s foot and one of the primary causes of athlete’s foot is toenail fungal infections that are untreated.

Americans pay more for prescription drugs than any other country. There are currently no generic alternatives to Jublia. Find out why Jublia is so expensive and what options are available to save money on this medication.

What is Jublia (efinaconazole)?

Jublia is an FDA-approved prescription drug that is formulated to reach the site of onychomycosis, for the topical treatment of toenail fungus on nails and the surrounding skin. It was approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) in 2014. This medication works better than most over-the-counter alternatives.

The active ingredient in Jublia is efinaconazole and is available as a 10% topical solution. This medication is manufactured by Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Use Jublia at the same time and place each day, for example in the morning or before bed. The recommended dosage is one drop applied to the affected toenail(s), with a second drop applied to the affected big toenail(s) once daily, preferably at bedtime. Jublia should be applied once per day to the affected toenail for 48 weeks. Only use Jublia as directed by your doctor. The amount of time it takes for a healthy nail to grow back varies from person to person.

Fungal infections of the nails are difficult to treat. Jublia is a new medication that has shown to be effective in clinical trials. In Study 1, Jublia had achieved a 17.8% complete cure rate, and in Study 2, Jublia had achieved a 15.2% complete cure rate.

You can prevent fungal infections by keeping your feet clean and dry. Wear socks made from natural fibers, such as cotton. Avoid walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms or pool areas. Change your shoes and socks daily, and alternate shoes to allow them to air out between wearings.

Jublia side effects

Jublia can cause irritation at the treated site. The most common side effects of Jublia include:

  • ingrown toenail
  • itching
  • redness
  • swelling
  • stinging or burning
  • blisters
  • pain

If you experience any side effects or possible signs of an allergic reaction while taking Jublia, speak with your healthcare provider right away.

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How much does Jublia cost?

The estimated retail price for Jublia Topical Solution 10% without insurance is around $685 for a 4 ml bottle.

Jublia’s cost can vary depending on your health insurance coverage for this medication. Contact your insurance broker to find out if your health insurance plan covers Jublia under its formulary. You should also find out from your insurance company if there are any deductibles and copays for this medication.

Each insurance plan has its own drug formulary that specifies which drugs it will cover. Some insurance plans may have Jublia on a higher tier which means that this prescription drug may have to pay a higher coinsurance or copayment. It’s also possible that Jublia may not be covered at all by your insurance plan.

The manufacturer has partnered with Walgreens and other participating pharmacies to offer a discount copay coupon for Jublia to commercially insured patients once the deductible is met. Most eligible individuals who are commercially insured will pay as little as $0 copay for their first prescription and eligible refills.

Those with commercial insurance without prescription drug coverage for Jublia and uninsured patients who are paying out-of-pocket will pay as little as $65 copay for the first Jublia prescription and eligible refills.

This offer is not valid for individuals with insurance coverage whole or in part by any state, federal, or other government programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, Veterans Administration Benefits, CHAMPIS, Department of Defense health coverage, and the Puerto Rico Government Health Insurance Plan.

Why is Jublia so expensive?

Jublia is so expensive that CVS decided to restrict the use of this medication. There are a few reasons why Jublia is an expensive prescription drug.

The generic version of Jublia is not yet available

Generic Jublia (efinaconazole) is not yet available in the United States. The earliest possible date a generic version will become available is sometime in 2030, which is when the patents are expected to expire.

Generic drugs are usually less expensive than brand-name drugs. When a generic version of efinaconazole becomes available, there will likely be more competition and the price of efinaconazole may go down.

RELATED: Brand vs generic drugs

Patent law protection

Jublia is covered by multiple patents that protect the drug from generic competition until 2030. This is why Jublia is so expensive, as there is no generic version of Jublia yet available.

The manufacturer of Jublia, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, has the exclusive rights to market this medication for 20 years from the initial date it applied for patent protection.

There are also other patents that protect Jublia from generic competition. These include patents for the use of Jublia to treat onychomycosis, patents that cover the specific formulation of Jublia, and a patent that covers the delivery system (spray bottle) used to apply Jublia.

The FDA approval process for a new drug is lengthy and expensive, so pharmaceutical companies will charge high prices for their medication in an attempt to recoup their research and development costs.

Generally, most drug patents will expire 20 years after the initial application date. Pharmaceutical manufacturers that hold the patent for the drug can also apply for an extension on the patent protection by reformulating the drug, changing how to drug is administrated, or simplifying the dose, which is commonly known as a “new use” or “new formulation” patent. Extending the patent delays the availability of generic alternatives for the medication and also delays the introduction of lower-cost generic alternatives.

Unregulated prescription drug prices in the United States

Unlike other developed countries, the United States government doesn’t regulate the price of prescription drugs. This means that pharmaceutical companies are free to set their own prices for their medications.

The cost of Jublia is determined by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Jublia. The price of Jublia may be increased at any time and there is no limit on how often or by how much the price can be increased.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals is known for aggressively raising the prices of its medications. Since 2014, the company has raised the prices of more than 200 drugs by an average of 66%.

It typically costs a pharmaceutical company billions of dollars to successfully introduce a new drug to market. The cost of prescription drugs is determined by many factors, including:

  • The cost of research and development
  • The price of the raw materials needed to make the medication
  • The demand for the drug
  • Marketing and advertising costs
  • Profit margins
  • The cost of research and development

A study by RAND concluded that prescription drug prices in the United States are on average 2.56 times higher than in other OECD countries.

How do I save on Jublia?

Jublia is an expensive toe fungus drug, especially for those who do not have any prescription drug coverage for this medication. Fortunately, there are several options that could possibly help you save money:

  1. Jublia Copay Card – the manufacturer offers a discount copay card to commercially insured patients once the deductible is met and most eligible individuals who are commercially insured will pay as little as $0 copay for their first prescription and eligible refills. Those with commercial insurance without prescription drug coverage for Jublia and uninsured patients who are paying out-of-pocket will pay as little as $65 copay for the first Jublia prescription and eligible refills. Make sure to check the offer on the website as the terms and eligibility requirements can change.
  2. Patient assistance programs – find out if you are eligible for enrollment into a Jublia patient assistance program.
  3. Ask your prescribing doctor for free samples of Jublia – many pharmaceutical companies provide healthcare providers with free samples to provide to their patients in order to help them get started on the medication.
  4. Get medical advice from your healthcare professional and find out if there are any alternative treatment options – ask your prescribing doctor if there are any lower-cost alternatives to Jublia including other topical treatments or oral antifungal medications like Lamisil (terbinafine) and its generic equivalent.
  5. Shop around for the lowest price at multiple mail-order pharmacies – the price for Jublia can vary by pharmacy and may not be the cheapest at your local pharmacy, so you should always check pricing at multiple pharmacies to find the lowest possible price.
  6. Jublia coupons – find out if there is a Jublia manufacturer coupon that can help you save money on this medication.
  7. Get help from Medicaid – find out if you are eligible for a state Medicaid plan that may cover the cost of Jublia.

Medically reviewed

A medical professional has reviewed this article.

Jamie Winn, PharmD
Jamie Winn, PharmD

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.

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Sources (6)

  1. Jublia official website

  2. Using Jublia

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Fungal Nail Infections

  4. Ortho Dermatologists Rx Access Program

  5. CADTH Common drug review - Clinical review report on Jublia

  6. Pharma Compass - Jublia patent expiration

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.