Pharma

GSK to join AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim in capping out-of-pocket inhaler costs

The cap is set to take effect by January 1, 2025.
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Certain patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can soon breathe another sigh of relief when it comes to purchasing inhalers.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) executives announced March 20 that the UK-based pharmaceutical giant will join AstraZeneca and Boehringer Ingelheim in capping how much US patients spend out of pocket on inhalers for asthma and COPD at $35 per month. GSK’s cap will take effect by January 1, 2025, while its competitors plan to implement their savings programs by June 1.

GSK US Commercial President Maya Martinez-Davis noted that the company already offers US patients “significant rebates and discounts for our products, as well as patient assistance programs, to help bring down costs.”

“This new commitment, combined with our existing offerings, will help even more patients living with asthma or COPD,” she said in a statement.

The cap will apply to Advair Diskus, Advair HFA, Anoro Ellipta, Arnuity Ellipta, Breo Ellipta, Incruse Ellipta, Serevent Diskus, Trelegy Ellipta, and Ventolin HFA inhaler products.

The announcement comes just two months after Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee members opened a price manipulation investigation into inhaler prices, and after AstraZeneca and Boehringer Ingelheim leaders unveiled their own savings program plans earlier this month.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who chairs the HELP Committee, said about GSK’s announcement that “the three largest manufacturers of inhalers in the world have all committed to cap the cost of inhalers in the United States at no more than $35 at the pharmacy counter.”

“This will significantly cut costs for millions of Americans with asthma and COPD so that they will be able to afford the inhalers they need,” he said in a statement.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) President and CEO Kenneth Mendez called the announcement a welcome and “promising trend” in a statement.

According to AAFA, efforts to make asthma medications more affordable can “save lives, reduce hospitalizations, and lower the more than $82 billion in annual costs to the US economy from this chronic disease.”

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.