Drug companies raised prices last year

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, drug companies sharply raised prices last year, ahead of increased rebates they must pay to Medicaid and other expenses tied to the federal health overhaul passed last month.

Prices for brand-name pharmaceuticals rose 9.1percent last year, the biggest increase in at least a decade, according to pharmacy-benefit manager Express Scripts Inc., which included the recent number in its annual drug-trend report. The boost for specialty drugs, a category that is largely biotech products, was even sharper at 11.5 percent.

In 2008, the price rise had been 7.4 percent for traditional pharmaceuticals, and 9.4 percent for specialty drugs.

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