The average price for popular name brand name drugs like Lipitor, Plavix, Zocor, Nexium and specialty prescription drugs used to treat cancer and other major diseases most used by Medicare beneficiaries rose faster than other consumer goods and services in the 12 months ending March 2010, according to a report from AARP’s Public Policy Institute.
This is the highest spike in retiree drug prices observed since the AARP began their tracking of drug prices in 2002. The average annual cost for a single brand name medication was about $2,190 and individuals using three brand name prescriptions paid $6,580. The majority of the 219 brand name drugs in the study (88 percent) increased in price between April 2009 and March 2010.
The report found that all of the top 25 brand-name prescription drugs had higher prices in the last year. Here’s a list of the top 10, with manufacturer and percent change in manufacturer’s price:
- Nexium – AstraZeneca – 7.4%
- Plavix – Bristol-Myers Squibb – 10.5%
- Prevacid – Takeda – 8.1%
- Protonix – Wyeth – 9.3%
- Lipitor (20mg) – Pfizer – 5.5%
- Lipitor (10mg) – Pfizer – 5.5%
- Aricept – Eisai – 13.9%
- Fosamax – Merck – 6.7%
- Norvasc – Pfizer — 5.0%
- Advair – GlaxoSmithKline — 7.0%
AARP’s Public Policy Institute also found that prices for specialty drugs—a group of drugs which includes biologic and injected drugs that are often used by Medicare beneficiaries to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other serious chronic conditions—climbed 9.2%, or nearly as fast as brand name drugs. Specialty drug costs can range in cost from $1,000 to more than $20,000 per month for American’s paying out of pocket for the medication necessary to keep them alive.
The prices of generic drugs, though, fell by 9.7% during the 12 months. Canada Drugs, Canadian Pharmacy offers our patients a generic alternative wherever possible to present our customers with the choice of saving money over the more expensive brand prescriptions.