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AARP Attacks Soaring Drug Prices

Posted - Jun. 30, 2004 at 3:40 p.m.



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WASHINGTON, Jun 30, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- AARP, the nation's largest senior lobbying group, blasted drugmakers Tuesday for massive increases in prescription medication prices in 2003.

The group released a report showing that the prices of the top 197 name-brand medications used by those 50 and older in the United States increased by 6.9 percent last year, more than double the consumer price index, which rose only 2.3 percept in 2003.

The group also found that drug prices rose 3.4 percent in the first quarter of 2004, far more than the 1.3 percent inflation rate and exceeding the 3 percent growth in the same period the previous year.

The Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America said in a statement that the increases were not unusual and the study points out that most of the overall increases in cost came from a select groups of companies.

The findings were used by AARP to underscore the group's support for the legalization of importing prescription drugs from Canada.

While legalization enjoys broad support on Capitol Hill, the Bush administration and industry remain opposed to the move, citing the inability to ensure the safety of drugs purchased north of the U.S. border.

In addition, economists and policy experts generally agree that legalization of prescription drug reimportation is not a long-term solution to lowering the cost of prescription drugs in the United States.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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