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Cost of biotech drugs rises

September 30, 2008 by  

The cost of biotech drugs is rising faster than inflationPeople who rely on a number of specialty biotech drugs to treat their health conditions saw prices rise by 8.7 percent last year, an AARP investigation found.

The cost of these medications, which are often used by the elderly to treat diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, rose at three times the rate of inflation, the advocacy group claimed.

It looked at 144 brand-name and generic drugs that are commonly used by people enrolled in Medicare.

John Rother, AARP executive vice president of policy and strategy, said that specialty drug makers "continue to raise the costs of drugs that have already been developed and tested," which increases the amount paid by patients as well as employers who sponsor health plans.

"Even the most miraculous drug is useless if people can’t afford to take it," he added.

The report also revealed that the price of more than 100 specialty medications jumped by 42.9 percent between 2003 and 2007, while inflation increased by 14.1 percent during that period.

The news comes after a report by Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Education Trust discovered that U.S. health insurance premiums rose by an average of 5 percent in the past year.
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