AARP Report: Prices for Popular Medicare Rx Drugs Rose by 9.7%
Prices for brand-name drugs that are widely used by Medicare beneficiaries increased by 9.7% during the 12 months ending in March, according to a report released by AARP on Monday, CQ HealthBeat reports.
AARP officials said the increase is the largest over one year since the group began tracking such prices in 2002.
The report also found that general inflation was roughly flat and that generic drug prices commonly used by beneficiaries dropped by 9.7% during the study period.
In addition, manufacturer prices for specialty drugs -- which treat conditions including multiple sclerosis and cancer and cost between $1,000 and more than $20,000 per month -- rose by 9.2% during that time, the report found.
However, the findings in the latest report "are not markedly different" from previous AARP studies, according to CQ HealthBeat. During a congressional hearing in fall 2009, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) noted that AARP tracking revealed a 9% increase in drug prices between October 2008 and September 2009.
Ken Johnson, senior vice president at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said AARP's report fails to take into account discounts and rebates that are often negotiated between the drugmakers and payers (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 5/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.