Drug Prices Increased Three Times Faster Than Inflation in a Decade, Study Finds

March 12, 2020

Prescription drug prices increased by more than three times the rate of inflation between 2008 and 2017, according to a new analysis that accounts for rebates and discounts.

The study, published in JAMA, analyzed the list and net prices of 602 brand-name drugs, finding that the list prices increased by 159 percent while net prices increased by 60 percent over the decade compared to an increase of 19 percent in consumer inflation during the same time period.

The study’s author, Inmaculada Hernandez, assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, said this is the first time research on the topic has included the impact of discounts.

PhRMA took issue with the study, saying that drugs “remain a small and stable share of overall healthcare spending – just 14 percent” even as competition among brand-name medicines and the introduction of generics are helping to lower what consumers pay for drugs.

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