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%.