Pharma

AstraZeneca to cap out-of-pocket inhaler costs at $35

The cap will take effect June 1 for patients with commercial insurance, as well as uninsured and underinsured individuals.
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Patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will soon have more options when it comes to accessing low-cost inhalers.

AstraZeneca executives announced Monday that the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company plans to expand savings programs that will cap certain US patients’ out-of-pocket costs for inhalers—including Airsupra, Bevespi Aerosphere, Breztri Aeroosphere, and Symbicort—at $35 per month.

The cap will take effect June 1 for patients with commercial insurance, as well as uninsured and underinsured individuals. The announcement comes just weeks after Boehringer Ingelheim announced its own $35 out-of-pocket cap for inhaler products and two months after congressional lawmakers on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee opened a price manipulation investigation into inhaler prices. Boehringer Ingelheim’s cap will also take effect June 1.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement that the expanded savings programs highlight the company’s “longstanding commitment to addressing barriers to access and affordability for patients living with respiratory diseases to ultimately help patients lead healthier lives.” He further called on Congress to “bring together key stakeholders to help reform the healthcare system so patients can afford the medicines they need.”

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who chairs the HELP Committee, lauded AstraZeneca’s move in a statement as a “very positive step,” and urged executives with GlaxoSmithKline and Teva—the two other major inhaler manufacturers—to follow suit.

“If AstraZeneca and Boehringer Ingelheim can cap the cost of inhalers at $35 in the United States, these other companies can do the same,” he said in the statement, adding that his panel “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.