Drug Prices are Increasing – Not Necessarily Because They're New


The cost of prescription drugs is rising, both for existing brand-name drugs and for newly produced generic drugs.  This finding comes from a University of Pittsburgh study.


For instance, the cost of insulin has risen dramatically, though it is the same product that people have been using for years. The study’s authors say that the reason is simply that companies are jacking up their prices to make more money.


To track the changes, Pittsburgh’s researchers examined the list prices of tens of thousands of drugs from a national database between 2005 and 2016.


They found that each year the price of brand-name oral medications increased by about 9 percent, which is nearly five times the rate of general inflation during the same time period. And the price of brand-name injectable drugs increased by 15 percent a year.


The researchers concluded that soaring prices were largely caused by companies hiking the prices on their existing drugs rather than introducing newer, more effective drugs into the market.


The study was published this month in the journal Health Affairs.






Appalachia Helth News

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.