November 2, 2005

Brand-name prescription drug prices rise: AARP

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prices for brand name prescription
drugs most commonly used by older patients rose at nearly twice
the rate of inflation during the second quarter, AARP said in a
report released on Wednesday.

Manufacturer prices on 193 medicines most commonly
prescribed to seniors climbed 0.9 percent from March 31 to June
30, the U.S. lobbying group for the elderly said. The general
inflation rate was 0.5 percent during the same period.

That second quarter increase in the price of drugs
frequently used by the elderly slowed sharply from the 3.3
percent increase seen in the first quarter of the year.

"Average price increases for the second quarter of any
given year tend to be lower than first quarter increases, and
this trend continued in 2005," AARP said in a statement.

Prices on 75 widely used generic drugs were flat in the
second quarter, the group said.

AARP tracks drug prices quarterly and has been urging
manufacturers to lower the costs for seniors. The group also is
encouraging elderly Americans to sign up for the prescription
drug coverage that will start in January under the Medicare
federal health insurance plan for the elderly.

AARP measured the prices drug makers charge wholesale
distributors for medicines to treat conditions such as high
cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis pain and