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AARP: brand-name drug prices increased 7.4 percent in 2007

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WASHINGTON The American Association of Retired Persons announced that drug companies increased their prices last year by an average of 7.4 percent for brand-name drugs, which was an increase about 2.5 times that of overall inflation, according to the Associated Press.

The prices used are those charged to wholesalers. AARP has also noted that the prices have increased slightly greater on average since Medicare Part D began in 2006.

All but four of the 220 brand-name prescriptions in the study had price increases during 2007. Nearly all exceeded the rate of general inflation. Among the top 25 drug products, the sleep aid Ambien, by Sanofi-Aventis had the largest price increase, 27.7 percent. On the other end of the spectrum, Merck’s cholesterol drug Zocor had no price change in 2007. Also, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s blood thinner Plavix had a price increase of 0.5 percent.

In the past, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America have stated that comparing rising drug prices to general inflation is not appropriate and should be compare to medical inflation, which was 5 percent for 2007.

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