Drug Manufacturers Hasten to Make Their Take

   Analysts of Medicare Industry grudge the increase of drugs' prices which is the fastest one since 1992.

  Wholesale prices for brand name prescription drugs have grown by about 9 % in the last year, even as the industry has agreed to support Obama administration healthcare reforms that would reduce the nation's drug costs by $8 billion.

  Drug makers say they need to raise prices to plow money back into research and development to find new drugs, contending they need to replace popular drugs whose patents will soon expire. But critics say the manufacturers are trying to raise the price bar before Congress passes reform measures aimed at curbing future drug spending.

  "When we have major legislation anticipated, we see a run-up in price increases," Stephen Schondelmeyer, a University of Minnesota pharmaceutical economics professor, told the newspaper.

  Health economists mention as an instance the hasty growth of prices in 2006 just before Congress added drug benefits to Medicare, when prices shot up by their widest margin in the six previous years.

  Still Merck spokesman Ron Rogers held his own, saying: "Price adjustments for our products have no connection to healthcare reform."

   UPI  has contributed to the report.

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