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NONPRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICE INFLATION IS 2.5% IN FIRST HALF OF 1993

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

NONPRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICE INFLATION IS 2.5% IN FIRST HALF OF 1993 at the producer level, according to preliminary Producer Price Index data released by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on July 13. This represents a decrease from OTC producer price inflation for the first half of 1992, when OTC prices went up 3.4%. In the first half of 1991, over-the-counter drug prices inflated 2.7% at the producer level. In the second quarter of 1993 alone, OTC producer prices recorded a 2.4% increase, rising almost 1.5% in the month of June, according to the BLS figures. The 2.5% first-half increase in OTC drug prices is almost even with the PPI for all finished goods, which is rising at a 2.4% annual rate. None of the nonprescription drug categories tracked by BLS approached double-digit price increases for the first two quarters of 1993. Decongestants showed the largest producer price increases in the first half of 1993 at 5.1%. Cold tablets and capsules (including antihistamine cold preparations) closely followed with a 5% producer price increase. Among other cough/cold subcategories, producer prices for cough drops, elixirs, expectorants, drops, lozenges, gums and troches rose 1.9% in the first half of 1993, while "other cough and cold preparations" (including antihistamine and decongestant mixtures) registered a 1.6% producer price increase for the half-year. The cough and cold preparation category as a whole registered a 3.6% producer price hike for the first six months. Recording more moderate increases in producer prices for the first half of the year were internal analgesics (excepting anti- arthritics), up 4.6%, and antacids, which rose 1.7% in the first half of the year. (For a listing of PPI inflation rates for all nonprescription drug categories, see chart.) Producer price declines were not observed among any OTC drug categories for the first half of 1993. Producer prices for antipruritics remained flat during the period. The overall PPI for the vitamin category increased .5% in the first half, with producer prices for adult multivitamins rising .2%. Producer prices rose 1.4% for B-complex vitamins, and grew 1.2% for "other vitamins" during the first half of the year. Other "nutrients and supplements" registered a .2% increase in producer prices in the first half of 1993, according to the BLS data. Compared to prescription drugs, producer price inflation for OTC drugs was not dramatic. The PPI for all Rx drugs in the first half of 1993 was 2.2%, but prescription drug categories such as urinary antibacterials and topical anti-infectives recorded 7.6% and 7% increases, respectively. Chart omitted.
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