Specialty biotech drugs prices rising

Biotech drugs, treating conditions like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, are already mind-bogglingly expensive, with some hitting $100,000 per year. As if that wasn't enough, now research suggests that these drugs' prices are rising faster than both inflation and the prices of other prescription drugs.

According to a new report from the AARP, the wholesale price of specialty drugs rose 8.7 percent last year--three times he rate of inflation. Meanwhile, the price of non-specialty, branded drugs rose 7.4 percent; the price of generics fell by 9.6 percent. These numbers come from the AARP's study of more than 140 specialty drugs frequently used by Medicare beneficiaries.

Not only did the overall level of specialty drug prices rise this year, some specialty drug prices skyrocketed over the last several years. AARP found that for 112 commonly used specialty drugs on the market from December 2003 to December 2007, the average price rose by 42.9 percent.

To learn more about this study:
- read this Wall Street Journal blog item

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