Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Drug Cost Hikes Outpace Rise in Other Medical Costs

By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today

Prices for prescription drugs have risen faster than the cost of other medical goods and services since 2006, according to a new government report.

The prices for 100 commonly used drugs -- which included 55 brand-name drugs and 45 generics -- increased at an average annual rate of 6.6% from 2006 through early 2010, compared with a 3.8% average annual increase for other consumer medical goods and services.

Prices for brand-name drugs increased by an annual average rate of 8.3%, while prices for generics fell by 2.6% annually, according to the report prepared by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and requested by five Democratic lawmakers.

Prescription drug spending totaled about $250 billion in 2009.

One of the biggest price increases in brand-name drugs was seen in tamsulosin (Flomax), a drug made by Boehringer Ingelheim to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. From 2006-2007, the "usual and customary" price for Flomax increased by 9.8%, but from 2009-2010, it increased nearly 30%.

No comments:

Post a Comment