Pharmaceutical Prices Continue to Rise

March 28th, 2011

As the country continues to wait on the results of health care reform, prices for popular pharmaceuticals are rising quickly ever as the patents expire on the top-selling medications.

Fifteen of the best-selling drugs drugs rose at an incredibly high rate last year at 11.4%. This is the highest it has ever been in the past five years, which has climbed at a steady rate of 5%. Two-thirds of the individual drugs had the prices see a double-digit price increase.

Many analysts attribute this sensation to pharmaceutical companies hoping to raise as much revenue as possible from their popular drugs before their patents expire, while capitalizing the fact that last year’s health care reform bill did not put a cap on drug prices.

“The price escalation is truly incredible,” said Judy Cahill an a pharmacy trade group executive director. She mentioned that while prescription medication generally makes up roughly 10 percent of medical spending, they are usually not a priority for cost-cutting.

Usually, manufacturers maintain an exclusive right to put new products on the market for up to 20 years from the date after they file a U.S. patent. Copycats usually enter the market once the patent expires, which significantly drops down prices.

The U.S. healthcare system is estimated to gain at least $70 billion in savings for the next four years as lower-cost medications replace expensive brand-names.

Brandon Yu, Senior Managing Editor

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