Doubling of the Cost of Prescription Drugs

AARP is providing us provocative information again. I have to say the AARP magazine and Bulletin do have a lot of information to help you get the best value healthcare. They must be a bunch of cheapskates and believers in being “medically emancipated” like me.

They provide some pretty dismal statistics about drug prices, for those of us who have to be taking medicines.shutterstock_56435689

The AARP Public Policy Institute surveyed the cost of 600 specialty, brand name, and generic drugs from 2006 to 2013 – reported in the April 2016 AARP Bulletin.

Drug costs doubled over the course of seven years, and in 2013, the average price increase was 9.4 percent. The average retail cost for a year’s supply of widely used medicines is better than $11,000 (which is 75 percent of the average annual social security retirement benefit or is half of the median income of someone on Medicare).

But now we are moving into the era of specialty drugs (those biologicals or specially concocted drugs for cancer, Hepatitis C and the like). They are notoriously expensive, but in 2013 the average cost was $53,384 – 189 times the cost of the average generic drug.

It’s an interesting question, what happens when someone just can’t afford the medicines they need to keep them alive? And maybe also we should ask is it OK for drug companies to charge as much as they can get away with - “what the market will bear”?

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