WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, celebrated the progress made to lower health care costs for Wisconsin families and hold big drug companies accountable. Less than three months after Senator Baldwin launched an investigation into the four major manufacturers of inhalers, three of the companies have made commitments to cap the out-of-pocket costs of their inhalers at $35 for patients at the pharmacy counter. 

25 million Americans have asthma, including 500,000 Wisconsinites, and 16 million Americans have COPD and rely on inhalers to breathe. Inhalers have been available since the 1950s, and most of the drugs they use have been on the market for more than 25 years. In other countries, the inhaler manufacturers sell the exact same products for far less. One of AstraZeneca’s inhalers, Breztri Aerosphere, costs $645 in the U.S. but just $49 in the U.K. Boehringer Ingelheim’s Combivent Respimat costs $489 in the U.S. but just $7 in France. GSK’s Advair HFA costs $319 in the U.S. but just $26 in the U.K, and Teva’s QVAR RediHaler costs $286 in the U.S. but just $9 in Germany.

In the past five years, AstraZeneca, GSK, and Teva made more than $25 billion in revenue from inhalers alone. That is part of a broader pattern: between 2000 and 2021, manufacturers of all inhaler products in the U.S. brought in more than $178 billion in revenue.

Video can be downloaded here.

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