APRIL 01, 2007

Generic medications are a better bargain than ever, according to the results of a new AARP study showing that brand name prescription drug prices are climbing at double the overall rate of inflation. Ten of the brand name drugs tracked by AARP's Watchdog Report increased at least 4 times the rate of general inflation during 2006.

"Over time, escalating drug prices will make Medicare drug plans unaffordable for older Americans," said David Sloane, AARP's senior managing director of government relations and advocacy.

On average, nearly 200 of the most commonly used brand name drugs for older adults rose 6.2% in 2006, AARP said. In contrast, manufacturer list prices for the 75 generic drugs tracked by AARP's Watchdog Report fell by 2.0% last year, continuing the downward trend for the price of generics that began in 2003.

AARP strongly supports several legislative measures to put even more downward pressure on prescription drug prices, including proposals to allow Medicare to negotiate Part D drug prices, and generic drug industry-supported measures permitting generic versions of biologic drugs to be brought to market.