Prescription drugs priced at $10 in 1982 $57.84 in 2021

Prescription Drugs Inflation Calculator

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Prices for Prescription Drugs, 1982-2021 ($10)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for prescription drugs were 478.35% higher in 2021 versus 1982 (a $47.84 difference in value).

Between 1982 and 2021: Prescription drugs experienced an average inflation rate of 4.60% per year. This rate of change indicates significant inflation. In other words, prescription drugs costing $10 in the year 1982 would cost $57.84 in 2021 for an equivalent purchase. Compared to the overall inflation rate of 2.66% during this same period, inflation for prescription drugs was higher.

In the year 1982: Pricing changed by 11.68%, which is significantly above the average yearly change for prescription drugs during the 1982-2021 time period. Compared to inflation for all items in 1982 (6.13%), inflation for prescription drugs was much higher.

Price Inflation for Prescription drugs since 1935

Consumer Price Index, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Years with the largest changes in pricing: 1982 (11.68%), 1947 (11.51%), and 1981 (11.48%).

Raw Consumer Price Index data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for Prescription drugs:

Year 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
CPI 30.600 30.600 30.800 31.000 31.000 31.000 31.400 32.200 32.500 33.100 33.500 34.600 38.583 41.380 42.260 43.480 45.540 46.060 46.020 46.980 47.680 49.080 50.800 53.060 54.260 53.900 52.040 49.960 48.860 48.233 47.750 47.640 46.740 46.000 46.585 47.385 47.408 47.208 47.062 48.200 51.169 53.946 57.177 61.631 66.385 72.454 80.769 90.200 100.100 109.700 120.100 130.415 140.846 152.015 165.231 181.685 199.662 214.731 223.023 230.569 235.023 242.862 249.262 258.623 273.377 285.423 300.854 316.485 326.269 337.085 349.015 363.938 369.157 378.284 391.055 407.824 424.981 440.149 442.580 458.343 479.315 502.510 519.618 528.008 526.785 532.081 521.676

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Buying power of $10 since 1982

Below are calculations of equivalent buying power for Prescription drugs, over time, for $10 beginning in 1982. Each of the amounts below is equivalent in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Year USD Value Inflation Rate
1982 $10.00 11.68%
1983 $11.10 10.98%
1984 $12.16 9.59%
1985 $13.31 9.48%
1986 $14.46 8.59%
1987 $15.61 8.00%
1988 $16.85 7.93%
1989 $18.32 8.69%
1990 $20.14 9.96%
1991 $22.14 9.89%
1992 $23.81 7.55%
1993 $24.73 3.86%
1994 $25.56 3.38%
1995 $26.06 1.93%
1996 $26.92 3.34%
1997 $27.63 2.64%
1998 $28.67 3.76%
1999 $30.31 5.70%
2000 $31.64 4.41%
2001 $33.35 5.41%
2002 $35.09 5.20%
2003 $36.17 3.09%
2004 $37.37 3.31%
2005 $38.69 3.54%
2006 $40.35 4.28%
2007 $40.93 1.43%
2008 $41.94 2.47%
2009 $43.35 3.38%
2010 $45.21 4.29%
2011 $47.12 4.21%
2012 $48.80 3.57%
2013 $49.07 0.55%
2014 $50.81 3.56%
2015 $53.14 4.58%
2016 $55.71 4.84%
2017 $57.61 3.40%
2018 $58.54 1.61%
2019 $58.40 -0.23%
2020 $58.99 1.01%
2021 $57.84 -1.96%*
* Not final. See inflation summary for latest details.

How to calculate the inflation rate for prescription drugs, 1982-2021

Start with the inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2021 / CPI in 1982 * 1982 USD value = 2021 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values from above. The CPI for Prescription drugs was 90.200 in the year 1982 and 521.676 in 2021:

521.676 / 90.200 * $10 = $57.84

Therefore, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $10 in 1982 has the same "purchasing power" as $57.84 in 2021 (in the CPI category of Prescription drugs).


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the Consumer Price Index for Prescription drugs in 1935. In addition to prescription drugs, the index produces monthly data on changes in prices paid by urban consumers for a variety of goods and services.

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