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PRICES OF 5,000 MOST PRESCRIBED DRUGS UP 9.1% IN 1989

Executive Summary

PRICES OF 5,000 MOST PRESCRIBED DRUGS UP 9.1% IN 1989, Medi-Span reports in its "1989 Inflation Report." The figure is in line with Bureau of Labor Statistics' Producer Price Index figures for the year that put prescription drug inflation at 9.7% ("The Pink Sheet" Jan. 22, p. 14). The PPI, however, is weighted for sales volume, while Medi-Span's data is not. Of the 5,000 prescription drugs followed by the pharmaceutical tracking firm, Medi-Span reported that 2,595 had price changes during the year. The average price increase for only those items that had price changes is substantially higher, at 14.6%. Price increases for the top 200 (most prescribed) prescription drug products, however, were only 5.5%. The top 200 products include a total of 568 items (or pack sizes), for which 329 had price changes during the year. The average price hike for the 329 items was 9.5%. Medi-Span data on 10,000 hospital drug products indicate that prices changed for 4,931 of the products during the year. The average price change for the 10,000 items was 7.2%, while the average increase for the 4,931 products with price changes was 8.1%. The firm's larger data base on approximately 59,000 prescription, OTC and drug sundries that were marketed throughout the year showed an overall price rise of 5%. Among those products, prices for single-source items rose 5.8%, while prices for multiple-source products rose 4.7%, Medi-Span reported.
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