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US drug prices outstrip other medical costs: GAO

U.S. prices for brand-name prescription drugs rose at a faster rate than costs for other medical goods and services over the last four years, according to a new U.S. government report. The nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the "usual and customary" price index for the top 100 commonly used drugs increased by an annual average of 6.6% from 2006 through the first quarter of 2010, compared with a 3.8% average annual increase in the consumer price index for medical goods and services. The basket of drugs contained 55 brand-name medicines and 45 generic drugs. Prices for the brand-name drugs rose by an annual average of 8.3%, while prices for the generics fell by 2.6% annually, according to the report.
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