Consumers Want to Know- Why are Generic Drug Prices Increasing?

Next week, a Senate subcommittee hearing chaired by Bernie Sanders, state senator representing Vermont, to address consumers concerns surrounding recent price increases for specific generic drugs. An article published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) notes a large spike in generic drug prices, one of which includes Doxycycline, an antibiotic, which went from $0.06 per pill to $3.36- a 5,000 percent increase. Others include Captopril, which treats hypertension; Digoxin, for the heart; and Ursodial, which prevents liver damage.

Pembroke Consulting found that 10 percent of generics have more than doubled in price in the last year, and researchers for the article published by the NEJM suggest this is likely due to less competition within the generic drug industry. Dr Aaron Kesselheim of Brigham and Women’s Hospital says,

Everybody just assumes generic prices are low but generic prices are low because there’s competition… so once that competition goes away, you no longer have low prices and you have very expensive generic drugs.”

Generic drugs were estimated by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association to save the health care system $239 BN in 2013. Furthermore, the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics reports approximately 86 percent of all prescriptions filled in the United States are for generic drugs.

The US Department of Justice issued a subpoena last weeks for two generic drug makers (Lannett and Impax Laboratories) in order to investigate the hike of prices in relation to the companies’ interactions with their competitors.

 

Read more here- “Why Some Generic Drug Prices are Skyrocketing,” (Jonathan LaPook, CBSNews)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.

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