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M-19: The Rising Cost of Generic Drugs (2013 - 2016): A Review
Gian J King
Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy United States
To analyze the top 20 generic drug price spikes and trends from November 2013 to September 2016 according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid weekly data.
The National Average Drug Acquisition Costs (NADAC) data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services were examined from 2013 to 2016. Files were analyzed to identify generic products with the highest percentage price increases that occurred in one week during that period.
The top 20 generic drug prices increases ranged from 368% (Benazepril-Hydrochlorothiazide 5-6.25 mg Tablet) to 1967% (Clobetasol 0.05% Gel) from November 2013 to September 2016. After the price spikes that occurred in one week, 8 drugs had a lower NADAC trend from the spike, and 12 drugs had a higher NADAC trend from the spike. However, all 20 drugs had a higher NADAC than the baseline starting price. Over the 3 years, 2014 had the most 1 week price spikes (14 drugs). Of the 20 drugs, 75% are oral administration products, 15% are topic, and 10% are ophthalmic administration products. The number of manufacturers did not appear to correlate with price changes.
Select generic products have had significant price spikes between November 2013 to September 2016. Price increases ranged from 368% to 1967% and oral products had the most spikes. Trends indicate that prices never fall below the original baseline price. Further research is needed to quantify generic price increases and the rationale behind these changes.