GAO: Rx Drug Prices Rose Faster Than Other Medical Goods, Services
U.S. prescription drug prices have increased more quickly from 2006 through the first quarter of 2010 than costs for other medical goods and services, according to a report released Monday by the Government Accountability Office, Reuters/Los Angeles Times reports.
GAO determined that the "usual and customary" price index for a group of 55 commonly used brand-name drugs and 45 generic drugs increased by an annual average of 6.6% over the last four years, compared with a 3.8% increase in other goods and services. According to the report, prices for brand-name drugs increased by an annual average of 8.3%, while generic prices went up by 2.6% annually (Reuters/Los Angeles Times, 3/14).
Researchers noted that of the $250 billion spent on prescription drugs in the U.S. in 2009, $78 billion -- or about 31% -- was paid for by the federal government through Medicare.
Congressional Democrats said the findings illustrate the necessity of the federal health reform law because the overhaul contains provisions to protect seniors from rising drug prices (Fox, National Journal, 3/14).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.