Average annual price of specialty drugs has nearly tripled since 2006, study finds

The average annual cost of 61 widely used specialty drugs for treating chronic conditions reached $78,871 in 2017, a number nearly triple the average annual cost for the same specialty drugs in 2006, according to a new AARP report. 

Three findings from the report, "Trends in Retail Prices of Specialty Prescription Drugs Widely Used by Older Americans: 2017 Year-End Update":

1. The average annual cost for the 61 specialty drugs indicated for chronic conditions in 2017 was $78,871. The cost for those same drugs in 2006, when Medicare implemented Part D, was $27,824.

2. The $78,871 price tag was almost $20,000 higher than the median U.S. household income in 2017, which was $60,336.

3. From 2016 to 2017, retail prices for 97 widely used specialty prescription drugs,  including specialty drugs that don't treat chronic conditions, increased by 7 percent. General inflation in 2017 was 2.1 percent.

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