Sure glad we're letting the free market work its magic:
Drug Prices Up Sharply This Year
Prices of the most widely used prescription drugs rose sharply in this year's first quarter, just as the new Medicare drug coverage program was going into effect, according to separate studies issued yesterday by two large consumer advocacy groups.
AARP, which represents older Americans, said prices charged by drug makers for brand-name pharmaceuticals jumped 3.9 percent, four times the general inflation rate during the first three months of this year and the largest quarterly price increase in six years.
...Over all, AARP said, higher prices mean that the cost of providing brand-name drugs to the typical older American, who takes four prescription medicines daily, rose by nearly $240 on average over the 12-month period that ended on March 31.
... a separate study, by Families USA, a patient advocacy group, found similar inflation rates among brand-name drug prices.
This isn't a bug, of course -- it's a feature:
Congress barred [Medicare] from negotiating prices with drug makers when lawmakers devised the new so-called Part D drug program.
Good thing, too. Look what happens you do give the government the power to negotiate drug prices:
The federal Department of Veterans Affairs, which is able to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical makers, is paying 46 percent less for the most popular brand-name drugs than the average prices posted by the Medicare plans for the same drugs, [Ron] Pollock [of Families USA] said.
Can't have that in Medicare! Heaven forfend!