Stats: More Americans getting priced out of prescription drugs

An article by Isaiah J. Poole of the Campaign for America’s Future offers some striking statistics highlighting the current crisis in healthcare costs. Poole notes the particular strain on Medicare, which currently is prohibited from negotiating prices with drug companies (even though other government entities have long done so). Some of Poole’s stats:

  • Researchers at the University of Minnesota report that prices of some drugs have gone up well over 100 percent, and in a few cases over 1,000 percent, in the past year.
  • Cost increases like these are already expected to have a ripple effect on private insurance premiums. An Aon Consulting report released this week projects that health care costs will be up 10.6 percent next year, increases that will be reflected in the health insurance premiums that people can expect to pay next year.
  • From 2002 to 2007, prescription drug prices increased by 50 percent, more than 2.5 times faster than inflation.
  • Eight in 10 Americans think that the cost of prescription drugs is too high, and four in 10 report struggling to pay for medication prescribed by their doctors.
  • Eighty-seven percent of Americans support “a proposal to allow Medicare to use its bargaining power to negotiate prescription drug prices with manufacturers.”
  • If Medicare was allowed to negotiate with manufacturers, the program would save approximately $90 billion a year, which could be passed along to the elderly in the form of lower costs or greater benefits.