AARP Study: Price of Popular Medications Rose 26%

A report issued by AARP found that the retail prices of the 514 drugs most widely used by Medicare recipients had risen around 26 percent between 2005 and 2009. Though the price of the generics on the list fell close to 31 percent during that time period, the brand-name drugs climbed by 41 percent, and the specialty drug prices climbed over 48 percent. Pharmaceutical industry officials have criticized the report as misleading, in that it ignores key facts and creates an inaccurate picture. Part of the criticism of the report is due to the fact that AARP only reported on the full retail price of drugs, without taking into account rebates or discounts insurers worked out with pharmaceutical companies, or the fact that patients were only responsible for a small co-payment, if any. AARP noted that this information was not available for them to use in the report, and that the price of individual drugs mattered to those who had not insurance and would have to pay out of pocket. The report added that high prices on brand-name drugs can increase insurance premiums and those increases can push Medicare recipients into the coverage gap. (Source: NY Times)