New AARP Research Sees Increase in Cost of Brand-Name Medications
Prices of the most frequently used brand-name prescription drugs are rising despite the current economic recession, but prices of generic drugs are declining, and more older U.S. residents are switching to the lower-cost alternatives, according to an annual AARP report released Wednesday, the AP/Myrtle Beach Sun News reports.
For the report, AARP examined the costs of the 219 most widely used brand-name drugs and found that manufacturers increased price on the drugs by 8.7% in 2008, compared with the general inflation rate of 3.8% over the same period.
The price of acid reflux treatment Prevacid increased the most, at 30%, while prices for the depression drug Wellbutrin and sleep medication Lunesta were second and third at 21% and 20%, respectively.
According to the AP/Sun News, some financial analysts have said that the rising cost of prescription drugs can be attributed to drugmakers' attempts to increase profit during the current economic recession.
In addition, some drugmakers have raised prices of certain drugs before their patents expire and generic versions of the treatments become available, the AP/Sun News reports.
Meanwhile, the costs of generic drugs declined by 10.6% on average in 2008, according to the report.
AARP officials said they hope to continue persuading people to use more generic medications, as well as push lawmakers to focus on reducing drug prices.
Â Rother said the price increases help make the case for policy changes, such as allowing the government to negotiate drug prices and drug reimportation.The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America called the report "one-sided," saying that it focused on selective brand-name medicines (Werner, AP/Myrtle Beach Sun News, 4/15). 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.