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Posted: September 03, 2008

Skyrocketing Prescription Costs: Some Prices Surge 100% or More

While consumers have been focused on the rising cost of gasoline, another cost has been going up even faster -- the price of some prescription medicines.


Researchers at the University of Minnesota say some drug companies have raised prices by 100% or more, and as a result are driving up the costs of many health insurance premiums and government programs.


For example, researchers say Questcor Pharmaceuticals has increased the price of Acthar from about $1,650 per vial to more than $23,000. The drug is used to treat spasms in infants.


Ovation Pharmaceuticals raised the price of its drug, Cosmegen, from $16.79 to $593.75, they said. Cosmegen is used to treat certain types of tumors.


According to the study, the average wholesale price of 26 drugs increased more than 100% last year. Healthcare officials say hospitals either have to eat the costs, or pass them on to health insurers and patients.


Many of the drugs are older drugs, which may explain their costs. The drug companies told researchers that it was costly to keep the drugs on the market, especially when there is declining demand.


So far, that explanation hasn't gone over well in Congress. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has asked the Government Accountability Office to look into the huge price hikes. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to specifically look into Ovation and its recent significant hikes in drug prices.


(Article courtesy of

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