Brand-Name Drugs Nearly 20 Times as Expensive as Generics
Health Care

Brand-Name Drugs Nearly 20 Times as Expensive as Generics

REUTERS/George Frey

Brand-name prescription drugs were, on average, more than 18 times as expensive as generics in 2017, according to a new report from the AARP Public Policy Institute.

The report finds that retail prices for 390 widely used generics fell by an average of 9.3 percent from 2016 to 2017. The average annual cost for a generic drug taken on a regular basis was $365, down dramatically from $751 in 2013. Brand-name drugs, meanwhile, saw retail prices rise by an average of 8.4 percent in 2017, based on 267 medications widely used by older adults. The average annual price for those drugs was $6,798.

The report also says that, of the 390 generic drugs it looked at, 297 went down in cost in 2017, while 90 saw a price increase. Six widely used generics had price increases of more than 70 percent, including an antidepressant called sertraline that rose in price by nearly 200 percent.

For more details, including price changes for the 25 top-selling generic drugs, see the full report.