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Rx Watchdog Report: Brand Name Drug Prices Continue to Climb Despite Low General Inflation Rate

These AARP Public Policy Institute reports present the most recent results of studies of changes in manufacturers' prescription drug list prices (i.e., the prices set by drug manufacturers to charge wholesalers and other direct purchasers for drug products) for prescription drugs. These reports are based on drugs widely used by Medicare beneficiaries; previous reports were based on utilization patterns for older Americans in general.

Specifically, the reports compare price changes with the rate of inflation. They also present differences in average price changes by manufacturer and by major therapeutic category. The sample of drugs studied was identified using 2006 data from a Medicare Part D plan provider, and changes in prices charged by drug manufacturers to wholesalers were measured using changes in the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC).

For more information, please contact Leigh Purvis at (202) 434-3902.

2010 Reports

2010 First Quarter Update

  • Full Report (Publication ID: i43), May 2010 (PDF, 13 pages)

2009 Reports

2009 Third Quarter Update

  • Full Report (Publication ID: i36), November 2009 (PDF, 13 pages)

2008 Reports

2008 Year-End Update

  • Full Report (Publication ID: 2009-07), April 2009 (PDF, 71 pages)
  • In Brief (Publication ID: INB172), April 2009 (PDF, 2 pages)

2007 Reports

Brand Name Prescription Drugs, 2002 to 2007

  • Full Report (Publication ID: 2008-05), March 2008 (PDF, 49 pages)

Generic Prescription Drugs, 2003 to 2007

  • Full Report (Publication ID: 2008-08), May 2008 (PDF, 42 pages)

Specialty Prescription Drugs, 2004 to 2007

  • Full Report (Publication ID: 2008-15), September 2008 (PDF, 38 pages)

Comparison of Prescription Drug Price Measures

  • Full Report (Publication ID: 2009-16), November 2009 (PDF, 22 pages)

This report compares the drug price change measures used in the Rx Watchdog reports with various other measures of drug price change. The report also compares annual manufacturer price changes in the AARP combined market basket of drug products to annual price changes reported by these alternate measures of drug price inflation.