Boehringer Ingelheim Announces $35 Monthly Price Cap on Inhalers for Asthma, COPD Patients

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On March 07, 2024, Boehringer Ingelheim announced it would be instituting a $35 per month out-of-pocket cost cap for its portfolio of inhaler products, with this cap going into effect on June 01, 2024.

Stock image of an inhaler. | Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

Boehringer Ingelheim will be putting a self-imposed $35 per month cap on out-of-pocket costs for patients to obtain items in its portfolio of inhalers.

Announced on March 07, 2024, Boehringer Ingelheim disclosed its intent to have the $35 cap, which will apply to all of the company’s inhalers at retail pharmacies beginning on June 1, 2024, as a measure to help decrease costs to vulnerable patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including the underinsured or uninsured.1

“Patients have counted on Boehringer Ingelheim for nearly 140 years to tackle challenges across diseases, including respiratory illnesses,” said Jean-Michel Boers, president and chief executive officer of Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corporation.1 “The U.S. 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. We want to do our part to help patients living with COPD or asthma who struggle to pay for their medications. This new program supports patients with predictable, affordable costs at the pharmacy counter. We will also continue to advocate for substantive policy reforms to improve the healthcare system.”

With asthma and COPD representing 2 of the most common pulmonary conditions in the US, the update from Boehringer Ingelheim has the potential to impact lives for millions in the US. According to statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15 million in the US are burdened with COPD and, although the rate of death from COPD has declined, the overall prevalence numbers have remained consistent for nearly a decade. Asthma presents a similar story, with asthma reported among 8% of adults and 6.5% of children in the US. Based on national estimates, approximately 25 million, including 5.5 million children, are subjected to the burdens associated with the disease.2,3,4

According to the American Lung Association, a patient with COPD pays an average of $4322 per year on disease-associated medical costs, ranging from $1681 per year among stage 1 patients to $10,812 per year among stage 3 patients. For asthma patients, the medical cost per patient each year was $3266, with asthma costing the US around $56 billion per year and $50.1 billion of that being direct costs.3,5

Specific inhaler products highlighted as part of the June 1, 2024, price cap within the release from Boehringer Ingelheim included:1

  • Ipratropium bromide HFA (Atrovent HFA) Inhalation Aerosol
  • Ipratropium bromide and albuterol (Combivent Respimat) Inhalation Spray
  • Tiotropium bromide inhalation powder (Spiriva HandiHaler)
  • Tiotropium bromide 1.25 mcg (Spiriva Respimat) Inhalation Spray
  • Tiotropium bromide 2.5 mcg (Spiriva Respimat) Inhalation Spray
  • Tiotropium bromide and olodaterol (Stiolto Respimat) Inhalation Spray
  • Olodaterol (Striverdi Respimat) Inhalation Spray

In addition to capping the out-of-pocket costs of the aforementioned products, Boehringer Ingelheim also pointed out it would continue to provide access to free products for eligible patients and comprehensive patient support programs. The announcement also highlighted the company’s intent to decrease the list price on some of its inhaler products as well as to continue providing significant discounts and rebates off the list price of its medicines to insurers, pharmacy benefits managers, and other parties.1

References:

  1. Boehringer Ingelheim caps patient out-of-pocket costs for its inhaler portfolio at $35 per month Boehringer Ingelheim. Boehringer Ingelheim caps patient out-of-pocket costs for its inhaler portfolio at $35 per month . Boehringer Ingelheim. March 7, 2024. Accessed March 7, 2024. https://www.boehringer-ingelheim.com/us/press-releases/boehringer-ingelheim-caps-patient-out-of-pocket-costs-inhaler-portfolio.
  2. National trends - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 29, 2024. Accessed March 7, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/copd/data-and-statistics/national-trends.html.
  3. American Lung Association. COPD trends brief - burden. COPD Trends Brief - Burden | American Lung Association. Accessed March 7, 2024. https://www.lung.org/research/trends-in-lung-disease/copd-trends-brief/copd-burden.
  4. Most recent national asthma data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 10, 2023. Accessed March 7, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/most_recent_national_asthma_data.htm.
  5. Cost of asthma on society. Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America. August 17, 2023. Accessed March 7, 2024. https://aafa.org/advocacy/key-issues/access-to-health-care/cost-of-asthma-on-society/.
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