Tags: drug | price | hikes

Drug Price Hikes in 7 Years Push Seniors' Annual Rx Cost to $11K

Image: Drug Price Hikes in 7 Years Push Seniors' Annual Rx Cost to $11K
(REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo)

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 09:37 AM

Drug price hikes over the past seven years have pushed annual medication costs to more than $11,000 for average older Americans, threatening their ability to afford the medicines they need if the trend continues, according to an AARP study.

According to the AARP blog, the increased prescription drug costs represent 75 percent of the average annual Social Security retirement benefit and half the median income on Medicare. The figures come from the AARP's Public Policy Institute Report, noted the nonprofit.

"If these trends continue, more and more Americans will simply be unable to afford the medications that they need to get and stay healthy," Debra Whitman, AARP's chief public policy officer, said on the AARP blog.

The AARP report tracked retail prices of commonly-used prescription drugs from 2006 to 2013. The report noted that the $11,000 per year cost for prescription drug therapy was significant compared to the average social security retirement benefit of $15,526 and median Medicare benefit of $23,500.

The report said the annual drug cost was also one-fifth of the median U.S. household income of $52,250.

"The findings of this report are attributable entirely to drug price growth among brand name and specialty drugs, which more than offset often substantial price decreases among generic drugs," the report said..

"More importantly, the recent acceleration in overall prescription drug price growth could be an indication that we can no longer rely on lower-priced generics to counterbalance the price trends seen in the brand name and specialty prescription drug markets." 

A Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll in August 2015 showed 72 percent of Americans believe that drug costs are unreasonable. And 74 percent said they believed drug companies put profits ahead of people.

In the same poll, 62 percent said prescription drugs developed over the past two decades have made their lives better.

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Drug price hikes over the past seven years have pushed annual medication costs to more than $11,000 for average older Americans, threatening their ability to afford the medicines they need if the trend continues, according to an AARP study.
drug, price, hikes
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2016-37-01
Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 09:37 AM
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