Drug companies raised prescription drug prices by about 5.5 percent during the first half of 2005, according to data from the healthcare research firm Delta Marketing Dynamics (DMD). The rate increase was about the same as last year's first half but less than the rise predicted in advance of the upcoming Medicare drug benefit, when greater pricing pressures are expected.
By keeping price increases level with last year, the industry "maintains reasonable brand-revenue growth without damaging its ability to negotiate contracts or drawing negative press," Bill Little, DMD's president told The Wall Street Journal.
However, drug prices are outpacing the general rate of inflation, which was 2.5 percent in the first half, according to the Consumer Price Index.
Drug price inflation was 6.7 percent in 2003 and 6.1 percent in 2004, DMD said.
The top 50 branded drugs had an average price increase on 5. 1 percent in the first half of 2005, compared with 5 percent in the same period last year.
The bottom 50 had an average price increase of 6.6 percent compared with 6.3 percent in the same period in 2004.