NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Americans pay higher prices for prescription drugs than the citizens of any other developed country on the planet. And the costs keep increasing.
In a recent report issued by the AARP Public Policy Institute, the retail prices of name brand prescription drugs often used by older Americans were found to have risen more than eight times faster than the general rate of inflation in 2013. That’s the highest average annual price increase since the organization began tracking drug prices in 2004.
“Higher brand-name drug prices can increase health care premiums, deductibles and other cost-sharing for everyone with health coverage, even for those who don’t take medications,” said AARP executive vice president for Policy, Strategy and International Affairs Debra Whitman, in a statement issued with the report. “If these price increases continue, we’ll likely see more people -- particularly older people, who are often on fixed incomes -- stop taking life-saving medications because they simply can’t afford them, leading to higher health-care costs down the road.”
And the rising costs of meds is now impacting the last line of defense for drug affordability -- generics. While prices on generic drugs have fallen in recent years, including a 4% average drop in 2013, it seems that trend may be ending. The report reveals that a number of popular generic drugs have seen “substantial price increases” -- some by as much as 1,000%.
“Declining generic drug prices have helped many Americans’ pocketbooks, particularly older adults on fixed incomes,” Whitman said. “Unfortunately, recent trends indicate that we may not be able to rely on these savings forever.”