Report: Specialty Drugs Unaffordable for Consumers

Dec 08, 2015

If recent trends in specialty drug price increases continue unabated, an increasing number of consumers may be unable to afford specialty medications.

If recent trends in specialty drug price increases continue unabated, an increasing number of consumers may be unable to afford specialty medications, according to a new AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) report. The report, the third in a series on prescription drug prices, examined the retail prices of 115 specialty prescription drugs most widely used by older Americans. The analysis included 47 different drug manufacturers and covered 30 different therapeutic categories. "In 2013, the average annual cost for specialty prescription drugs was 18 times higher than the cost of brand name prescription drugs and 189 times higher than the cost of generic prescription drugs,” says Leigh Purvis, MPA, PPI director of health services research and co-author of the report. “The high costs associated with specialty prescription drugs have important financial implications for the entire healthcare system and can make it extremely difficult for patients to afford the treatment they need to stay healthy.” AARP’s Public Policy Institute has been tracking price changes for widely used prescription drugs for more than a decade. The “Rx Price Watch” reports focus on price changes for three market baskets-brand, generic, and specialty drugs. In addition, a combined market basket (i.e., brand, generic, and specialty) allows the Institute to analyze the price change trend across all types of prescription drugs in the U.S. market. For more information about this report, visit our partner site Managed Healthcare Executive.  

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