What appears to be happening, according to researchers, is “manufacturers see the mismatch between supply and demand and increase the price of the drug in an opportunistic manner.” (Photo: Shutterstock)

Drug prices increased at roughly twice their usual rate after shortages developed, a study found, suggesting that pharmaceutical companies may be reaping additional profits when urgently needed medicines become scarce.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Medical School examined the prices of 617 dosages and formulations of 90 different drugs that went in short supply between December 2015 and December 2016. They found that prices rose a cumulative 16 percent, on average, in the 11 months after the shortage began, compared with 7.3 percent in the prior 11 months.

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