The average cost of a year's worth of prescription drugs more than doubled from 2006 to 2013—to more than $11,000 per year, according to a new report by AARP. The skyrocketing prices are unaffordable for many and hit senior citizens the hardest, the report says.
The average price per year of 622 prescription drugs widely used by seniors surged from $5,571 in 2006 to $11,341 in 2013, the latest year for which AARP data is available, said Leigh Purvis, director of health services research in AARP's Public Policy Institute. That amounts to a whopping 48 percent of the median income of people who receive Medicare benefits: $23,500, as of 2013, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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The surge in prices partly stems from the fact that costs of generic drugs, which are usually more affordable, rose since 2012. In some cases, the amount of generic versions being produced fell short of demand, leading to an increase in prices. In other cases, big pharmaceutical companies bought the rights to the generic drugs to increase their prices and make hefty profits.
The costs of approximately 20 drugs at least quadrupled since just December 2014, and 60 have seen their prices at least double during the same time frame, Bloomberg reported, according to a report from price-comparison software company DRX. Among the most infamous drug-price hikes was that of the anti-infection generic drug Daraprim, which was bought by Martin Shkreli's company Turing Pharmaceuticals and went from $13.50 to $750 per pill.
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Rising prescription drug prices is a hot topic in the 2016 presidential race, with every candidate taking a stance on what they'd do to lower prices. Americans overwhelmingly support price controls on drug manufacturers (73 percent), and most Americans blame pharmaceutical companies for skyrocketing drug prices (65 percent), according to a HealthDay/Harris Poll from November 2015.