Published Online: Sunday, January 1, 2006

Despite rhetoric about runaway prescription drug prices, the cost of medicine is rising more slowly than the overall cost of health care in the United States, officials at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said. Citing Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures from July 2004 to July 2005, PhRMA officials noted that overall medical care prices rose by 4.2% during that period. In contrast, the CPI for prescription drugs climbed by only 3.4% during those 13 months.

The drug manufacturing group is focusing attention on price changes for drugs in an effort to counteract "overhyped rhetoric" by groups such as the AARP that claim that drug prices are rising out of control.

In addition to showing a lower rate of inflation than other health costs, the price of prescription medicines is rising "much slower than other goods that Americans rely on every day," PhRMA said. In contrast, the group said that "fuel oil increased a whopping 34.7% over the same July-to-July period," while gasoline prices rose 18.1%; airline fares climbed 6.8%; and the cost of water, sewer, and trash collection services increased 4.9%.

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