AARP Report Finds Increase In Brand-Name Drug Costs Outstrips InflationAARP Bulletin: "Retail prices for some of the most widely used brand-name prescription drugs shot up more than 8 percent in 2009, even as inflation plummeted to a record low, according to a new AARP analysis of retail drug price trends released today. The AARP Rx Price Watch Report also looked at retail drug prices over the past five years and found some huge increases for popular drugs including the prostate drug Flomax, which nearly doubled in price; Advair and Aricept saw price hikes of 40 percent. During the same period, the consumer price index rose 13.3 percent. The findings show that the cost of prescription drugs-many widely used by those on Medicare-far outstripped the price increases for other consumer goods and services. The AARP report found that all but six of 217 brand-name prescription drugs had retail price increases exceeding general inflation last year" (Sagon, 8/25).
The Hill's Healthwatch Blog: "Big pharma is pushing back against" the report. "The AARP findings, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the branded drug lobbying powerhouse, is at odds with other figures indicating that the rise in drug costs is consistent with overall medical inflation. 'Independent and government data continue to show prescription medicines represent a small and decreasing share of growth in overall health care costs in the United States, Rick Smith, PhRMA's senior vice president, said Wednesday in a statement. PhRMA's initial response doesn't address AARP's findings directly, but instead focuses on other indicators related to drug-cost trends" (Lillis, 8/25).
NPR Shots Blog: "The relentless rise in brand-name drug prices is getting to be a sad, familiar song. Inflation was nonexistent in 2009, with consumer prices falling by about a third of a percent. The retail cost of a year's worth of treatment with the most commonly used brand-name drugs was $1,382 in 2009, up from $1,286 the year before. Drugmakers often raise prices steeply just before a medicine faces generic competition" (Hensley, 8/25).
The Wall Street Journal Blog: Meanwhile, "[m]ore than a quarter of Americans who take prescription drugs have skipped doses, split pills or cut other corners to save money in the last year, according to a new study by Consumer Reports. The WSJ has written that U.S. consumers are cutting back on their use of health-care services, which is likely due to the state of the economy but may also reflect a more lingering trend as consumers pick up a bigger percentage of their medical costs. This telephone survey, of 1,154 adults who currently take at least one prescription drug, found that 27% 'failed to comply' with their prescriptions in some way during the past year. ... That kind of cutback was most common among people who were under age 65 and didn't have prescription-drug coverage" In addition, "nearly 70% of those surveyed agreed, to some extent, with the notion that pharma companies have too much influence on physicians' prescription decisions" (Hobson, 8/24). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.