Even Generic Drug Prices Are Going Through The Roof
by Katie Gibson, CBS Moneywatch
The good news: U.S. consumers still get more bang for their buck from generic drugs as prices of the cheaper versions of the originals are generally falling. The bad news: Recent years have seen an increasing count of sharp cost spikes for generics — the drugs produced after the patents on their branded versions expire.
“The broader picture of generic costs is the decline over time, and the lower prices traditionally seen,” said John Dicken, director of health care issues at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the agency Congress has tasked with investigating how taxpayer money is spent. “But the fact is that there’s a subset in more recent years,” added Dicken, of a disruptive trend that’s threatening to unravel one of the few remaining restraints on the otherwise escalating cost of health care.
Generic versions of popular or vital drugs have been a partial bright spot amid a public outcry over pharmaceutical companies jacking up the prices by astronomical proportions. After drawing fire over its pricing of its EpiPen, for instance, Mylan Pharmaceuticals (MYL) recently sought to stem the criticism by saying it would sell a generic version, charging $300 for a two-pack of the injectable medication for severe allergies rather than the list price of more than $600.
But generic-drug manufacturers are also getting in on the price-hiking action.