NEXSTAR (D.C.)– The cost of specialty drugs is increasing faster than the cost of everything else. And those drugs can cost more than what the average American makes in a year.
Specialty drugs treat chronic, complex conditions diseases.
Leigh Purvis with AARP says, “We’re looking at things like Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer.”
A new report by AARP shows the prices of the already expensive medications increased by seven percent from 2016 to 2017. That’s nearly three times faster than general inflation.
Leigh Purvis is the Director of Health Services Research at AARP. She says those high prices especially impact older Americans.
Purvis adds, “If you’re prescribed even one expensive prescription drug, and the median income for Medicare beneficiaries is just over $26,000, you really can have a meaningful income on their day to day budgets.
In fact, the price of specialty drugs is hard for most Americans to afford. The AARP report found the average annual cost of one specialty drug in 2017 was about $79,000, or about $17,000 more the median American household income.
AARP says right now, there’s nothing in the US healthcare system that stops pharmaceutical companies from setting high prices and raising them whenever they want.
Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen says the Health Labor and Education Committee is working on the problem.
The Democratic Senator shares, “Trying to bring generics to the market faster, controlling some prices for prescription drugs.”
But the process of attempting to regulate prescription drug prices is a slow one.