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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Drugs for Older Americans Rose an Average of 15.5% in 2015 According to AARP Report

Retail prices for brand name prescription drugs widely used by older Americans rose by an average of 15.5% in 2015—almost 130 times faster than the 0.1% general inflation rate—according to a new AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) report released today.

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AARP’s Rx Price Watch Report: Trends in Retail Prices of Brand Name Prescription Drugs Widely Used by Older Americans, 2006-2015, shows that the average annual cost for one brand name drug used on a chronic basis now exceeds $5,800. Five of the six drugs with the highest cumulative price increases over the study period were marketed by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The retail price of Valeant's anti-anxiety drug, Ativan 1 mg tablets, increased by 2,873% between 2006 and 2015.
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Which companies raised prices the most? Crooked Valeant, of course, tops the list. But can you guess who is #2, #3, etc? Click "Read more" for the answer.

I'm surprised the Lundbeck is #2 (see chart below). Out of the 48 companies assessed for their corporate reputation by patient groups in 2015, Lundbeck snagged third place, ahead of Johnson & Johnson, arguably the most beloved pharma company in the world (for more on that, read "Pharma's Rep Among Patient Groups at 4-Year High").

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Highlights of the Rx Price Watch Report
  • The average annual retail price increase for widely used brand name prescription drugs was more than two and a half times higher in 2015 (15.5%) than in 2006 (5.9%).
  • Brand name drug prices increased almost 130 times faster than general inflation in 2015 (15.5% vs 0.1%).
  • In 2015, the average annual retail cost of one brand name medication used to treat a chronic health condition more than $5,800, compared with nearly $1,800 in 2006.
  • Retail prices increased for 97% of the 268 brand name prescription drugs in the study’s market basket.
  • Seven widely used brand name drugs had average annual retail price increases of over 50% in 2015.

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