Consumers Facing Sticker Shock for Generic Drugs

Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014 03:58 PM

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Generic drugs account for nearly 85 percent of medicines bought and sold in the U.S., but consumers are increasingly encountering sticker shock for some non-brand-name medications, The New York Times reports.

The prices for some generic versions of Fiorinal with codeine (for migraines), Synthroid (a thyroid medicine), and the generic steroid prednisolone have all more than doubled since last year, according to EvaluatePharma.
 
Earlier this year, the National Community Pharmacists Association called for congressional hearings on generic drug prices, complaining that those for many essential medicines grew as much as "600, 1,000 percent, or more" in recent years, The Times reports.
 
The price jumps especially affected smaller pharmacies, which do not have the clout of big chains to bargain for discounts.
 
Generic medicines are far cheaper to bring to market than brand-name drugs because they involve little research and development. They also are priced lower because generics typically face intense competition.
 
But Aaron Kesselheim, a professor of health economics at the Harvard School of Public Health, told The Times: "Studies show it is not until you have four or five generics in the market that the prices really are down."

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