Drug Prices Up During 12-Month Period
Manufacturer prices for the brand-name drugs most commonly used by individuals ages 50 and older increased by an average of 6.3% during the 12-month period ending in June, according to an AARP survey released on Tuesday, the Newark Star-Ledger reports (Cohen, Newark Star-Ledger, 9/20).
For the survey, AARP looked at manufacturers' list prices for the 193 brand-name drugs most commonly prescribed to people ages 50 and older. Between July 2005 and June 2006, the prices of those drugs outpaced the 3.8% inflation rate by roughly 60%, the survey finds (Lipman, Palm Beach Post, 9/20).
The brand-name prescription drug with the highest manufacturers' list price increase during the first six months of 2006 was Ambien, a sleeping aid manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, according to the survey. The price for a five-milligram dose of Ambien increased 13.3%, the survey finds (Newark Star-Ledger, 9/20).
The survey also finds that manufacturers' list prices for the brand-name drugs increased an average of 4.3% during the first half of 2006 -- roughly double overall inflation -- and increased by 0.5% between April and June. AARP said the slowdown during the second quarter of 2006 could be because price increases typically take effect at the start of the year (Freking, AP/Seattle Times, 9/20).
According to the Star-Ledger, AARP said it was uncertain whether the price moderation is related to a normal drug price cycle or because of the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Newark Star-Ledger, 9/20).
AARP Public Policy Institute Managing Director Dalmer Hoskins noted that the survey did not examine how the price increases affected consumers, adding that the prices consumers pay varies based on their insurance (Palm Beach Post, 9/20).
The AARP survey is available online. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the survey.