AARP reports on high cost of specialty drugs


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The cost of specialty drugs is increasing faster than the cost of everything else and can cost more than what the average American makes in a year.

A new report by AARP show the prices of the already expensive medications increased by 7% from 2016 to 2017, nearly 3 times faster than general inflation.

Leigh Pervis, the Director of Health Services Research at AARP, says those high prices especially impact older Americans.

“If you’re prescribed even one expensive prescription drug, and the median income for Medicare beneficiaries is just over $26,000, you really can have a meaningful income on their day to day budgets,” Purvis said.

The AARP report found the average annual cost of one specialty drug in 2017 was about $79,000 or about $17,000 more than the median American household income.

AARP says right now there’s nothing in the U.S. healthcare system that stops pharmaceutical companies from setting high prices and raising them whenever they want.

Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen says the Health Labor and Education Committee is working on the problem.

“Trying to bring generics to the market faster, controlling some prices for prescription drugs,” Rosen said.

But the process of attempting to regulate prescription drug prices is a slow one.

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