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U.S. Investigates Generic Drug Price Hikes

U.S. officials are investigating recent large price increases in several generic drugs. A commentary published November 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine addresses the issue. For example, the price of doxycycline, an antibiotic, has increased from 6.3 cents to $3.36 per pill, the commentary says. The Justice Department has sent subpoenas to 2 generic drug makers. It is investigating possible price fixing. A U.S. Senate subcommittee has scheduled a hearing next week about the increases. In a press release, the committee noted that the price of a heart medicine, digoxin, jumped from 11 cents to $1.10 per pill in less than 2 years. Reasons for the price hikes vary from drug to drug. With digoxin, the number of companies that make the drug dropped from 8 to 3 since 2002, the commentary said.

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