Elderly Drug Costs Rise

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Drug costs have been increasing during 2007, especially those mainly prescribed to elderly.

Report by Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) looked at 220 brand name drugs and found that only 4 of them didn't change in prices.

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Most of increase was reported in drugs generally prescribed to elderly. Ambien by Sanofi-Aventis is the first in the list with 27.7%, blood thinning Plavix by Bristol-Myers Squibb rose by 0.5%, cholesterol drug Zocor by Merck didn't change in price.

Starting from January 1, 2006, when Medicare drug benefit started, wholesale drug prices were higher and started increasing, even exceeding inflation. In 2002 drug prices increased by 5.3%, in 2006 by 6.6%, and in 2007 by 7.4%.

"Unfortunately, many manufacturers have taken the absence of an outcry as a green light to go ahead and raise prices even more," said John Rother, AARP's policy director.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, representing pharmaceutical companies, doesn't agree with the report, saying that AARP didn't mention drug prices are increasing slower than before, and that the report didn't take into account generic drugs, which are 2/3 of all prescription drugs consumed.

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