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Up, Up and Away...Again: Idaho Prescription Price Check

March 26, 2007


Up, up and away. The latest AARP Watchdog Report on common medications shows some prices have risen twice the rate of inflation. Previous reports have also shown price hikes that routinely outpace inflation. AARP Idaho director Jim Wordelman says there are ways the U.S. could help bring prices down.

"Legalize the safe importation of prescription drugs from abroad. And permit more generic drugs to be brought into the market."

There is also a proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies, which Wordelman says would help keep the prescription program affordable. Prices for Ambien, a sleep aid medication, are up almost 30 percent. The pharmaceutical industry says prices reflect research and development costs, and market demand.

Wordelman believes escalating prices hurt the Medicare prescription plan because it will raise premiums and dump more folks into the "donut hole" of no coverage.

"Over time, the escalating price with the brand-name medications will really make Medicare drug plans unaffordable for older Americans."

The prescription price report is at www.aarp.org.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ID