Brand-Name Drug Prices Spiral Out of Control

If you don't take better responsibility for your health by avoiding expensive, dangerous and often worthless prescription drugs, you'll certainly feel it in the pocketbook, according to the latest AARP report comparing the wholesale pricing of 193 brand-name and 75 generic drugs.

Although the 6 percent increase in name-brand drugs represents the smallest rise in five years, that number still way outpaces the nation's inflation rate. Conversely, the report found generic drug prices fell for the second straight year by about 1 percent.

Although some entities, namely the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, dispute the use of wholesale drug costs, fact is, only five of the brand-name drugs AARP tracked didn't jump in price last year. And, 84 percent of the drugs that did exceeded the rate of inflation.

The drugs with the steepest wholesale price increases:

  • Combivent -- 22.1 percent
  • Ambien: 19.5 percent
  • Flovent: 19.3 percent
  • Atrovent: 18.6 percent
  • Lantus: 14.9 percent

Unfortunately, the report doesn't take into account new drugs that are merely minor variations of older drugs, meaning an even higher annuity you could be paying to drug companies if you're not willing to make simple lifestyle changes.

USA Today April 10, 2006

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