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NEWS: Sanders Applauds Major Pharmaceutical Companies for Capping Inhaler Costs at $35, Following HELP Committee Investigation

WASHINGTON, June 1 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, on Saturday issued the following statement after Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the largest manufacturers of inhaler products in the United States, began its program to cap out-of-pocket costs at $35 per month for its asthma and COPD inhalers:

Today is the first day of a new program instituted by the major pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, which will allow people with asthma and COPD to purchase brand name inhalers at their local drugstore or pharmacy for only $35 dollars. This is a major reduction in cost, and I thank Boehringer Ingelheim for making their important products affordable for the millions of Americans who need them to breathe.

It comes as a direct result of the HELP Committee’s investigation into the outrageously high cost of inhalers that 25 million Americans with asthma and 16 million Americans with COPD rely on to breathe. In my view, Americans who have asthma and COPD should not be forced to pay, in many cases, 10 to 70 times more for the same exact inhalers as patients in Europe and other parts of the world.

We look forward to AstraZeneca moving in the same direction – applying its $35 cap automatically at the pharmacy counter – in the next few weeks, and to GlaxoSmithKline following suit in the coming months. We are waiting on word from Teva, the fourth major inhaler manufacturer, as to how they will proceed.

Once again, I would like to thank Boehringer Ingelheim for leading the effort to cap out-of-pocket costs for inhaler users. 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.