Soaring Costs of Prescriptions for Elderly Continue

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The cost of brand-name drugs for chronic conditions rose nearly 130 times faster than the inflation rate.
The cost of brand-name drugs for chronic conditions rose nearly 130 times faster than the inflation rate.

HealthDay News -- According to a new report by the AARP Public Policy Institute, the prices of brand-name drugs used by many older Americans rose nearly 130 times faster than inflation last year.

Researchers examined the prices of 268 brand-name prescription drugs widely used by seniors, including 49 in drug categories that are used to treat common and often chronic conditions such as hypertension, hyper-lipidemia and diabetes.

The retail prices of the drugs rose an average of 15.5% in 2015, compared with a 0.1% increase in the general inflation rate, according to the AARP report. Of the 268 drugs included in the report, 97% had retail price increases in 2015. Seven had average price increases of more than 50%.

"Prescription drug therapy is not affordable when its cost exceeds the patient's entire income," report coauthor Leigh Purvis, MPA, director of health services research at the AARP Public Policy Institute, said in an AARP news release.

"Even if patients are fortunate enough to have good health care coverage, high prescription drug costs translate into higher out-of-pocket costs -- especially for those who pay a percentage of drug costs rather than a fixed co-payment -- as well as higher premiums, deductibles and other forms of cost-sharing."

Reference

Brand Name Drug Prices Increase Nearly 130 Times Faster Than Inflation [press release]. Washington, DC: American Association of Retired Persons; December 14, 2016.

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