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Saturday, July 25, 2015

If Generic Drugs Are Supposed To Be Cheaper, Why Are They So Expensive?

If Generic Drugs Are Supposed To Be Less Expensive, Why Are Their Costs Rising So High?
Many people ask for the generic brand when they have their prescriptions filled because they believe generic is less expensive. At least, that's the way it used to be, but things have changed. Consumers are becoming more and more surprised at how high -- sometimes 4 times as high or more -- generic prescriptions have increased in cost. Why?

Why generic drugs are increasing in cost

Almost all prescription drugs today are generic; in fact, 80 percent are generic. The original idea was to offer generic brands to make them more affordable to consumers and to keep health care costs down. But that doesn't seem to be working very well any more. Even pharmacists are shocked at how many generic prescription drugs have increased so high, and so quickly. But the reasons are vague. And suspicious.

Legitimate, or price gouging?

Some reasons for price increases may be legitimate. Mergers and acquisitions in drug companies can drive prices up, for example. But it doesn't seem to explain why some drug companies will spike the price on some doses but not other doses of the same medication, or why drug prices will spike and then just as quickly go back down again.

Overall, about 27 percent of generic drugs increased in price in 2013, according to a recent report by the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI). While this may not seem like a large amount, it is huge for low-income, seniors, and others who depend on these drugs to keep them healthy, and even save their lives. The situation is of such concern that the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging continues to investigate the matter.

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