Pharma

Boehringer Ingelheim to cap monthly out-of-pocket inhaler costs at $35

The move follows a congressional probe into inhaler costs.
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Patients with conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may soon pay less out of pocket for Boehringer Ingelheim’s inhaler products under a new copay support program, executives with the German pharmaceutical company announced Thursday.

Beginning June 1, eligible patients can purchase all Boehringer Ingelheim inhalers—including Atrovent HFA Inhalation Aerosol, Spiriva HandiHaler, and the Combivent Respimat, Spiriva Respimat, Stiolto Respimat, and Striverdi Respimat inhalation sprays—at retail pharmacies for no more than $35 a month. The cap will apply to patients who are underinsured or uninsured.

Jean-Michel Boers, president and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corporation, said the out-of-pocket cap aims to “help patients living with COPD or asthma who struggle to pay for their medications.”

“The US healthcare system is complex and often doesn’t work for patients, especially the most vulnerable. While we can’t fix the entire system alone, we are bringing forward a solution to make it fairer,” he said in a statement. “This new program supports patients with predictable, affordable costs at the pharmacy counter.”

Boers added that the company “will also continue to advocate for substantive policy reforms to improve the healthcare system.”

Boehringer Ingelheim plans to continue offering eligible patients free products and support programs, executives said. Further, the company will lower the list price on some of its inhalers, as well as provide discounts and rebates to reduce the list price for insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and others—though those discounts “are not always passed on to patients,” according to Boehringer Ingelheim.

The announcement comes two months after Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) members opened a price manipulation investigation into Boehringer Ingelheim and three other pharmaceutical companies—AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Teva—over inhaler prices, which the members argued can cost US patients hundreds more compared to the same products sold in other countries.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who chairs the HELP Committee, called Boehringer Ingelheim’s moves “very positive steps in the right direction” and urged other drug companies to follow suit.

“If Boehringer Ingelheim can take action to cap the cost of inhalers at $35 in the United States and lower the list price of some of the inhalers it manufactures, these other companies can do the same,” he said in a statement. “The Senate HELP Committee will continue to do everything we can do to make sure that Americans no longer pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.”

Navigate the healthcare industry

Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.