Price Hikes Noted in Small Subset of Generic Drugs

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A small but growing subset of generic drugs experienced sudden large price increases from 2007 to 2013.
A small but growing subset of generic drugs experienced sudden large price increases from 2007 to 2013.

HealthDay News — A small but growing subset of generic drugs experienced sudden large price increases from 2007 to 2013, according to a study published in the October issue of Health Affairs.

Geoffrey Joyce, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues used Medicare Part D data for 2006 to 2015 to examine price increases in generic drugs in the context of their base prices, duration, and accompanying changes in patients' out-of-pocket spending.

The researchers found that from 2007 to 2013, there was an increase in the fraction of drugs that at least doubled in price, from 1.00 to 4.39 percent of generic products. Most of these medications were initially low or medium in price and were not among the most widely used generics. There were modest changes in out-of-pocket spending for these drugs. The price elevation lasted for two to five years. Similar trends were seen with data for 2011 to 2015.

"Potential steps to ensure that generic markets remain strong include fast-tracking new generic drug applications when competition is limited, allowing temporary importation of off-patent drugs, and implementing greater oversight of drug company mergers and takeovers," the authors write.

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