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A Bitter Pill

Rapidly increasing R&D costs are often exhorted as the primary cause for the rise in prescription drug prices, which have been soaring since the mid-�90s. The cost of a newly developed drug is $900 million, according to the recently revised estimate from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. But a breakdown of the costs and profits of an average prescription reveals that R&D accounts for just a measly 16% of the overall price. The retailer cost of operations; manufacturer sales, marketing, and operating costs; and the cost of materials are all much bigger line items.

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