New Caps on Cost of Inhalers

President Biden on Wednesday will tout Democrats’ efforts to lower the cost of inhalers after drugmakers announced plans to cap prices. 

The president, alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), will give remarks at the White House to highlight the crackdown on the cost of inhalers. They will also be joined by health care advocates and experts, according to a White House official.

After the administration’s crackdown, which included scrutiny for anticompetitive practices that can delay lower-cost generics from coming to market, three of the four largest inhaler manufacturers announced in March that they would cap the cost of inhalers for many patients at $35 a month.

The announcements also came after Sanders earlier this year led a letter from a group of Senate Democrats to the CEOs of the four biggest manufacturers of inhalers sold in the United States — AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline and Teva — demanding information and documents on the costs involved in the manufacturing of inhalers, among other issues.

At the time of the letter, one of AstraZeneca’s inhalers costs $645 in the U.S. but just $49 in the United Kingdom. In March, AstraZeneca announced it would cap out-of-pocket costs at $35 for all its inhaler products, effective June 1, in a similar move to rival company Boehringer Ingelheim.

Also, in the remarks on Wednesday, Biden will highlight efforts from the Inflation Reduction Act, which only Democrats in Congress voted for, to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and drugs for seniors on Medicare, the official said. 

The official argued, which Biden is expected to reiterate on Wednesday, that the work to lower health care costs is “in stark contrast to Republican elected officials’ vision,” noting that some Republicans have vowed to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act.

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