The Rx Price Watch report from the Public Policy Institute of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has found that retail prices of widely used brand name prescription drugs rose at a significantly faster rate than general inflation over the past decade.
The Rx Price Watch report developed by Leigh Purvis, MPA, of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, PharmD, PhD, PRIME Institute, University of Minnesota, has found that retail prices of widely used brand name prescription drugs rose at a significantly faster rate than general inflation over the past decade. Specifically, in 2015, the retail prices for 268 drugs in this category saw an average price increase of 15.5%, while the general inflation rate was 0.1% during the same time period.
The report, “Trends in Retail Prices of Brand Name Prescription Drugs Widely Used by Older Americans, 2006 to 2015,” examined the price trends for the most commonly used branded prescription drugs in 2015. Additionally, the authors calculated the 10-year cumulative retail price changes for popular branded prescription drugs for the period between 2006 and 2015, and retail price changes for these drugs based on their therapeutic category and the manufacturer. The following are some of the report’s findings:
The authors wrote that an increase in the price of branded drugs always translates into an increase in out-of-pocket costs—particularly for consumers who have a coinsurance instead of copayment. Additionally, insurance companies compensate for the price increase by raising deductibles and premiums for enrollees. Overall, prescription drug price increases also impact taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
The report advices health policy experts to take note of this recent trend in pharmaceutical drug prices and focus their attention on ways to balance innovation with consumer health, and financial security.