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Drug prices have risen almost 40% over the last decade, according to a new tracker

HealthDrug prices have risen almost 40% over the last decade, according to a new tracker


Mike Mergen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The cost of prescription medications in the U.S. has increased by 37% since 2014, far surpassing the rate of inflation, according to data from drug savings company GoodRx.

Though the price increases have slowed this year in comparison with the past decade, the higher costs are raising out-of-pocket expenses for consumers. The average American spends $16.26 out of pocket per prescription, according to the data.

“When things increase … inevitably, they do trickle down to consumers, especially those who are in a high deductible plan or who don’t have insurance or find themselves paying substantially out of pocket,” said GoodRx Director of Research Tori Marsh.

GoodRx said the patients’ share of the cost continues to grow due to rising copays, coinsurances and deductibles. The company found that over the last 10 years, the average person’s deductible nearly doubled, and copays are rising as the majority of plans are adding another tier of drugs with higher copays.

It’s a dynamic GoodRx deems “the big pinch.” High medication costs are coupled with reduced insurance coverage. Analyzing coverage for over 3,700 Medicare Part D plans between 2010 and 2024, GoodRx found that the portion of medications covered dropped by 19% over that period.

“The impact is really kind of threefold,” Marsh said. “Rising costs or rising prices are a big part of it, but it’s really that with the combination of increased friction. … It’s hard for people to, in some ways, access their medication or access a pharmacy. And then on top of that, insurance is not what it used to be. It’s not covering as much as it used to.”

On average, Americans pay 2 to 3 times more for prescription drugs than consumers in other developed countries, according to the White House.

Drug costs have become a particular focus for President Joe Biden, particularly as he approaches the 2024 election. The Biden administration has taken several measures to lower out-of-pocket drug expenses.

On Wednesday, the White House announced it would lower prices on 64 prescription drugs for some Medicare beneficiaries as a result of inflation penalties on drugmakers.

The lower costs, effective during the third quarter, will benefit roughly 750,000 people who use the drugs annually, some of whom could save up to $4,593 per day, according to the release.

“Despite efforts by policymakers and industry leaders to break down affordability and accessibility barriers, a patient’s actual out-of-pocket cost continues to increase and is often a huge surprise to them,” said GoodRx interim CEO Scott Wagner said in a news release.

— CNBC’s Annika Kim Constantino contributed to this report.



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