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HORMONE PRODUCT PRICES INCREASE 10.4% AT PRODUCER LEVEL

Executive Summary

HORMONE PRODUCT PRICES INCREASE 10.4% AT PRODUCER LEVEL during the first six months of 1987, the largest price gain of any prescription drug category, according to preliminary second quarter price data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, although price increase in the volatile hormone product category was in double digits for six months, the class actually declined nearly three percentage points in the second quarter. Hormone product prices at the manufacturer level were up 13.2% in the first three months of the year. Overall, producer prices of prescription drugs increased 5.4% over the six-month period, BLS data indicate. The figure translates into a 4% first-quarter gain, the second smallest of the decade thus far, with the remainder coming in the three months ended June 30. The 5.4% first half price inflation for prescription drugs is more than twice the producer price increase for all finished goods and OTC pharmaceutical products, 2.1% and 2.4%, respectively. While the figure is comparable to the 5.1% advance in the first half of 1986, prices for all finished goods fell 2.9% during that six-month period. Other drug product categories showing increases greater than that of prescription products as a whole include: miscellaneous prescription preparations, up 9.1%; psychotherapeutics, up 8.9%; muscle relaxants, up 8.8%; central nervous system stimulants, up 7.7%; diuretics, up 7.1%; codeine and codeine combination analgesics, up 6%; antihypertensives, up 5.6%; and multivitamins, up 5.5%. After a 21.4% first-quarter runup, producer prices for dermatological preparations declined significantly in the second quarter, resulting in a fractional percentage net increase for the six-month period. Only two of the more than 20 prescription drug categories showed price declines in the first half of 1987 -- antispasmodic/antisecretory products, down 2.6%, and bronchial therapy products, down 1.7%.
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