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The latest report to chronicle the rising cost of prescription medicines comes from a U.S. Senate committee that found prices for the 20 drugs most widely prescribed through Medicare Part D in 2015, on average, increased 12 percent each year between 2012 and 2017.

Moreover, a dozen of the medicines saw price hikes of 50 percent of more during that time and six of the drugs experienced price increases of more than 100 percent. In one case, the weighted average wholesale cost for one medicine — Nitrostat, which is used to prevent chest pain — rose by 477 percent.


Meanwhile, 48 million fewer prescriptions were written for those 20 brand-name drugs, but total sales for those medicines during the five-year stretch rose by almost $8.5 billion, according to the report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee minority office.

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