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Executive Summary

CNS DRUG PRICES, UP 23.5% IN FIRST QUARTER, LEAD Rx PRODUCER PRICE increases in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Producer Price Index for the three months ended March 31. The central nervous system stimulant/anti-obesity drugs group was also among the categories with the biggest price gains in the first quarter of 1988, with prices up 8.7%, and in the full calendar year, with prices up 13%. First quarter figures for 1988 presumably do not include Upjohn's price increase for the leading anxiolytic product Xanax (alprazolam). Prices went up 18% for that product on April 3 ("The Pink Sheet" April 3, T&G-17). Rx drug prices at the producer level rose 3.8%, a little slower than the pattern of 4-4.5% gains during this decade. Last year, the first quarter increase (3%) was the smallest for this decade in terms of the government's PPI figures. Rx drug categories showing the biggest price gains after CNS/anti-obesity agents, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, were bronchial therapies (up 16%), hormones (up 15.9%), and vasodilators (up 7.3%). Adult multivitamins (up 6.6%), antihypertensives and antidepressants were also up above 5% in the first quarter.

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