Great News For Some Americans

There’s great news for some Americans: inhalers are set to become significantly more affordable.

Three leading inhaler manufacturers have committed to capping the out-of-pocket costs of their inhaler products and similar respiratory medications at $35 a month for certain patients in the U.S.

GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical company, announced its price cap last week, joining AstraZeneca and Boehringer Ingelheim in this initiative.

However, Teva Pharmaceuticals, another key player in the inhaler market, has yet to announce a similar price cap.

These cost-capping measures by the three companies will not be implemented immediately and are the result of mounting pressures rather than spontaneous decisions.

In January, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions initiated an inquiry into the pricing practices of these four companies, questioning why inhalers cost more in the U.S. than in other nations.

This scrutiny is part of ongoing criticism and public frustration directed at the wider pharmaceutical industry for high healthcare expenses in the U.S. Following similar pressure, last year Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi significantly reduced the prices of certain insulin products for some U.S. patients.

So, who depends on inhalers, and what do they typically cost?

Inhalers are essential for people with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), allowing them to manage symptoms and provide relief during severe episodes, such as asthma attacks.

Approximately 25 million Americans live with asthma, and about 16 million are affected by COPD. The high cost of inhalers has forced many patients to ration their use, a concerning practice highlighted by the Senate HELP committee in January.

For a pricing comparison, most of these respirators are between $300-600 in the U.S., whereas they are generally between $9-50 in USD equivalent in many European countries.

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