Gradual increases are nothing new, but prices across the board are up, rivaling
those of brand drugs.

This image from the AARP shows how the prices of some drugs have increased since 2005.

When the patent expires on a brand-name drug, companies can begin manufacturing generic versions of the drug.

  • If the patent on a brand drug has expired, companies will alter the drug slightly (like a change from the original version to time-release) that they can keep the patent on. AARP
  • “Pay for Delay”: Brand companies will pay manufacturers of generic brands not to produce the generic drug, so they can maintain control of the price and the market AARP

Or, natural occurrences in the market can cause price increases.

  • Reduced competition: problems with the supply of raw materials, difficulties manufacturing drugs, and fewer companies (due to closings or mergers) ABC News
    • When there is less competition, companies can raise prices.
  • It becomes more expensive to produce the drug (the least likely answer to the current rising prices) AARP
  • The FDA is slow making decisions on generic drug applications ABC News
    • The Office of the Inspector General’s last review of the FDA in 2008 found that many reviews took the allotted 180 days, and many took longer. 96% of applications for new drugs were denied because they didn’t meet the FDA’s standards.
    • The Office of the Inspector General will review the price increases of generic drugs since 2005 in a new report, as requested by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). The legislators introduced bills in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House targeting the high prices of generic drugs.

Is your drug going generic soon? View this chart to find out.

Price Spike for Some Generic Drugs; Costs for Brand-Name Drugs Also Rising
AARP
When Carol Ann Riha, 57, filled her prescription for the generic cholesterol-lowering drug Pravastatin, she was in for sticker shock. For months, she’d been paying $4 for a 30-day supply. Suddenly the price had climbed more than four times as high, to nearly $19. “I asked my pharmacist why, and he had no answer,” says Riha, a retired journalist who lives with her husband in West Des Moines, Iowa… By her accounting, the drugs that cost her $849 in 2013 almost doubles in price the last year, to $1,700.


With Generic Prescription Drug Prices Surging, Families Are Feeling the Squeeze
ABC News

When Tricia Salese called her local pharmacy for a price check on her next prescription refill, she was stunned when the pharmacist told her the cost of her generic-brand pain medication had gone up again. Salese, 49, started taking fentanyl citrate, the generic version of Actiq, a powerful painkiller, in 2010, and she takes three doses per day. Back then, she said, the price per dose was 50 cents. Now, the pharmacist told her when she called, it was going to cost her $37.49 per dose.

 

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