Metric: Drug tab for seniors surges 25% in four years

A government agency reports that the tab for a 30-day supply of 96 drugs commonly used by seniors surged 24.5 percent between 2000 and 2004. But the price rise wasn't general. Twenty of the drugs accounted for the lion's share of the increase. "Nineteen of the 20 drugs were brand drugs and one was a generic drug," the pain medicine hydrocodone/acetaminophen, according to the Government Accountability Office. Pfizer blockbusters Lipitor and Celebrex experienced the biggest price increase over that period. Pfizer noted that the report doesn't take into consideration Medicare drug discount cards that offered discounts of 30 percent to 40 percent to the uninsured.

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