Retail prices for more than 100 widely used specialty prescription drugs surged by nearly 11 percent in 2013, according to a new AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) report issued today. The report found that the average annual cost of a specialty medication used to treat chronic diseases and conditions rose to more than $53,000 — greater than the U.S. median income and more than twice the $23,500 median income of people on Medicare.
Escalating drug prices have been making the news in recent months. In particular, the exorbitant price tags of two brand-name drugs used to treat Hepatitis C — Solvaldi and Harvoni — have ignited intense controversy. I talked with Leigh Purvis, director of health services research, AARP Public Policy Institute, and coauthor of AARP’s Rx Price Watch Report: Trends in Retail Prices of Brand Name Prescription Drugs Widely Used by Older Americans, 2006-2013 about the trend in rising drug prices and what it means for consumers.
For decades, doctors, drug companies and the Food and Drug Administration have assured us that low-cost prescription generic drugs - which make up an estimated 80 percent of the prescription medicines we take - work just as well as the costlier brand-name drugs they mimic.
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