DRUG COSTS: Generic Prices Fall, Overall Costs Up
Prices for brand name prescription drugs rose 4% this quarter, down 0.3% from a year earlier, while prices for generic drugs fell 2.7%, a smaller than expected drop. The figures, released by the pharmaceutical information firm IMS Health, show that overall retail prices for both brand name and generic prescription drugs rose 4.3%, while non-retail prices rose a meager 1.1%. Myron Holubiak, a consultant for IMS HEALTH, said, "This increase in the retail sector is being driven by the slowing of price declines for generics." Prices for the top 10 selling prescription drugs increased 2.5%, up slightly from the second quarter, but well below the 4% increase for all brand name prescription drugs. Overall prescription sales volume for the third quarter is up 12.4% from the same period last year on strong sales of new products. New products and line extensions accounted for 6.6% of the increase. "We maintain that new product sales -- not just price increases -- are driving growth," Holubiak said. IMS HEALTH's figures are based on sales and price information from more than 20,000 pharmaceutical products, and all price calculations are weighted to reflect sales volume (IMS HEALTH release, 11/13).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.