Drug prices continue to rise at a double-digit clip, AARP report asserts

Despite heated criticism from politicians and patients, drug firms raised drug prices by 15.5%  last year, according to a new report from AARP.

“What’s particularly remarkable is that these incredibly high price increases are still occurring in the face of intense public and congressional criticism of prescription drug pricing practices,” said Debra Whitman, AARP executive vice president for policy, strategy and international affairs.

She added that drug price increases over the past decade have been “just shocking.” As an example, she cited lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg tablets. Costs for the anti-anxiety medication jumped by 2,873%  between 2006 and 2015.

The study looked at prices for 268 brand-name prescription drugs widely used by seniors to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

The report’s findings echo an earlier report this month by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that examined the 20 highest price increases from 2014 to 2015. Spending by CMS on these drugs jumped from $146 million to $486 million, the data showed.