HOUSTON – We all know that prescription drug prices are soaring higher and higher, but there is one category of prescription drugs where the costs are climbing so high that many patients may simply be priced out, unable to afford the very drug they so desperately need.
They are called specialty drugs, and AARP has just completed a study of 97 different specialty drugs and their prices.
Channel 2 Investigates has been looking at some of AARP’s findings.
What types of ailments are specialty drugs used to treat?
Specialty drugs are used to treat complex, chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C and cancer.
What does the AARP price watch report reveal?
It found that the average annual cost for just one specialty medication used on a chronic basis is $78,781. There are specialty drugs that cost far more and those that cost less, but that was the average.
“What we found is that, on average, one specialty drug costs roughly $80,000 per year, which greatly exceeds what a lot of people make. The U.S. median income is about $60,000 a year. So it’s roughly $20,000 more than the average household brings in, in terms of income,” said Leigh Purvis, AARP Director of health services research.