Drugs have been the driving force behind price increases for prescription drugs, according to research published on Monday by drug company Costco.
The company, which owns the popular brand Viagra, said in a research note that its analysis showed the cost of a generic Viagra had increased from $6,600 in 2016 to $12,400 in 2018, a 12 per cent increase.
This year, costco is forecasting an average annual increase in the price of Viagra from $2,300 to $4,600, an increase of almost 18 per cent, it said.
Costco also said it was confident the number of prescriptions for generic Viagagas will continue to rise, and that the generic drug market could see a “significant increase” in 2018.
Costos drug prices have skyrocketed in recent years.
Last year, the drug company said it expects to see drug prices increase by an average of about 15 per cent per year.
The firm added that it expected the number in the pharmacy “to rise as a result of increased demand and increased supply”.
Costco is not the only company to raise its drug prices.
The pharmacy chain Rite Aid, which has more than 200,000 stores, is also forecasting an increase in prices for the same period.
The drugmaker, however, has faced a number of recent scandals.
Last month, its chairman, Philip Morris International, was sentenced to prison for failing to pay nearly $400 million in fines and penalties.
Costcos drug prices are set to rise again next year, when it will be the fifth consecutive year that the company is expected to see an average increase in price.
The firm also reported that the number one reason for the price increases was a surge in demand for generic drugs.
“It’s not a coincidence that the price increase has occurred in a time when the market is facing increasing supply pressures, with demand expected to continue to increase,” the firm said.
Costco said the average annual cost of its generic drugs, which include generic versions of its brands, was $2.80, compared with an average cost of $1.60 for its brand Viagastrol, which was the first brand Viagnas price increase.
A spokesman for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that “in the US, the average cost for prescription drug plans was approximately $2 per prescription for a generic prescription drug”.
“The average cost is determined by the brand and is based on the generic manufacturer’s costs for production, marketing, marketing overhead and distribution costs,” the spokesman said.
“Costco’s prescription drug pricing model allows us to offer a variety of generic options, while retaining our core brands.”
Costco declined to comment on what other brands of drugs the pharmacy chain plans to sell.