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Drug prices triple inflation rate

July 10, 2003 at 8:22 AM

NEW YORK, July 10 (UPI) -- A Families USA study shows prices for the 50 drugs most prescribed for the elderly rose last year at more than three times the rate of inflation.

As Congress seeks a compromise on House and Senate Medicare legislation, the study by the consumer group shows "how important it is to offer significant subsidies to the lowest-income seniors," Ron Pollack, the group's executive director, told the New York Times.

As many as half the elderly do not have insurance for drugs for some part of the year, he said, because they either lack coverage or have exceeded the limits on their policies.

Prices for the 50 drugs increased an average of 6 percent, compared with a rise of 1.8 percent in the Consumer Price Index, excluding energy prices, the study said. More than half the drugs increased by three or more times the inflation rate while a quarter stayed the same.

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