New data from AARP shows prices for brand name prescription drugs continue to skyrocket, particularly for older Americans. Analysis of 227 such drugs shows an average cost increase of nearly 13 percent in 2013, compared with a general inflation rate of 1.5 percent during that year.
The average annual cost for one brand name medication used on a chronic basis was nearly $3,000 in 2013, according to the organization. For a consumer who takes three brand name prescription drugs on a chronic basis, the annual cost of therapy would have been more than $8,800 during 2013more than double the cost 8 years earlier.
Pricing increased for 97 percent of the 227 drugs in 2013. The top seven drugs with retail increases above 30 percent were Welchol 625 mg tablet (30.6%), Aciphex 20mg tablet DR (32.2%), Lunesta 2mg tablet (34%), Prandin 2mg tablet (38%), Solaraze 3% gel (67%), Actonel 150mg tablet (78.6%) and Uroxatral 10 mg tablet ER (197.5%). If these trends continue, the cost of drugs will prompt increasing numbers of older Americans to stop taking necessary medicationsleading to poorer health outcomes and higher overall healthcare costs, according to AARP.
Over time, the organization warns, consumers with private insurance also will pay higher premiums and cost-sharing, and the result could be higher taxes and/or cuts in public programs to accommodate increased government spending.
AARP urges policymakers to consider regulatory and legislative action that balances the need for pharmaceutical innovation with the need for improved health and the financial security of consumers and taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
A full report from AARP is available here.
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