The best and easiest way for health plans to save money on prescription drugs is for their enrollees to use generic versions. Prices for common brand name conventional drugs and for specialty prescription drugs continue to outstrip inflation, while prices for common generic drugs have declined.
According to the Rx Watchdog Report from the AARP Public Policy Institute, the average annual rate of increase for widely used brand name, generic, and specialty prescription drugs was 4.5 percent, or 20 percent above the general inflation rate of 3.8 percent.
The report found that the cost of therapy for consumers who take three or more brand name prescription drugs rose by almost $2,100 between 2002 and 2008.
Other findings include: