AARP: Drug Price Increases Outpacing Inflation

May 28, 2004 ( - It is no secret that prescription drug prices are on the rise, but the extent of its impact on seniors is becoming to come to light.

Senior-citizen lobby group AARP says on average theprices charged by drug manufacturers to wholesalers for brand name prescription drugs increased from 4.1% in 2000 to 6.9% in 2003, at a time when the annual rate of general inflation fell from 3.3% in 2000 to 2.2% in 2003. Thus, prescription drug prices increased three times the rate of inflation in 2003, the AARP said.

In dollar terms, the average annual increase in the cost of prescription drugs nearly doubled between 2000 and 2003, rising from $33.76 to $60.38. Putting those figures in terms of the age group represented by AARP, the interest group said a typical older American who takes three drugs would have to absorb an increase in prescription drug costs of $101 in 2000.

By brand name drugs, AARP found the largest average annual percentage change in manufacturer’s price between 2000 and 2003 was recorded byBMS’ Plavix, with a 7.8%hike. Other large average annual increases were noted in:

  • Abbott’s Flomax (7.3%)
  • Pfizer’s Lipitor (6.0%)
  • Merck’s Flomax (5.6%)
  • Wyeth’s Protonix (5.4%)
  • Pfizer’s Xalatan (5.4%)
  • TAP’s Prevacid (5.2%).

A copy of the report is available at