AARP Study: Drug Costs Increasing Faster than Twice the Inflation Rate

The cost of nearly everything is rising, but old Americans are taking note of one product that's way up: their medication.

Almost every year, prices for many brand name drugs are going up faster than the rate of inflation. In some cases, the prices are going up faster than twice the rate. That's according to a recent AARP report, which found from 2006 to 2020, the cost of 260 commonly used medications increased 2.9 percent. The inflation rate is only 1.3 percent.

“It’s hurting Americans in general, but seniors particularly because they’re on a fixed income,” David Balat, director of the Right on Healthcare initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said. “They believed that Medicare and their supplemental insurance was going to be there to help them and afford them the medications that they would need, if they needed it.”

So, who’s responsible for the vast price difference? Balat says it’s the drug companies.

“They’re being consistent in their application of increased prices to everyone. Medicare is a big program. Medicaid is a big program. So, the more that they can extract out of those programs, the better for their shareholders,” Balat explained.

AARP says their organization is lobbying for laws that would allow Medicare to negotiate with drug manufacturers to help bring down prices.

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