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Report: Medications Take Too Much “Green” from Idahoans’ Wallets

March 17, 2008

Boise, ID – Taking a dose of medicine takes a big bite out of Idahoans' budgets. A new report from AARP shows the prices for most commonly used, brand-name medications rose at two-and-a-half times the rate of inflation over the past year. Most of the dramatic price increases can be traced to 2006, when Medicare Part D was implemented.

AARP Idaho President Peggy Munson says, while "Part D" has helped millions in their golden years afford their prescriptions, if prices continue to soar, premiums and out-of-pocket expenses will become unaffordable.

"I don't know where this is going, but they need to put a stop on this because it's just unbelievable. You have to look at your budget every single month, especially if you're on a fixed income. It really, really does need to be reworked."

The report calls for taking a look at ways to keep prices from rising so fast, and ways to make medications affordable for everyone, including allowing Americans to buy prescriptions from other countries where prices are lower. Munson says that flexibility would really help keep people from falling into the "donut hole" coverage gap.

Drug companies say prices reflect increasing research and development costs. The AARP report is available online, at www.aarp.org.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - ID