NEWS: Sanders Applauds Boehringer Ingelheim for Reducing Inhaler Costs to $35

WASHINGTON, March 7 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, on Thursday issued the following statement after Boehringer Ingelheim announced that it would cap patient copays for all of its inhalers at $35 starting on June 1, 2024. The company also announced that it will lower the list price of some of its inhalers.

The announcement comes on the heels of the January 8 HELP Committee investigation, led by Chairman Sanders, along with HELP Committee members Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), into the four major manufacturers of inhalers, including Boehringer Ingelheim, and their efforts to manipulate prices.

Sanders said:

In January, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions that I chair launched an 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 up to 70 times more for the same exact inhalers as patients in Europe and other major parts of the world are being charged.

Today, I am very pleased that some important progress is being made to make inhalers more affordable to patients who desperately need them in our country.

Boehringer Ingelheim has announced today that patients in America who are uninsured or under-insured will pay no more than $35 for the inhalers that they manufacture beginning on June 1st of this year. The company has also agreed to reduce the list price of some of its inhalers. These are very positive steps in the right direction.

A Vermont resident recently told my office that she has to pay $320 per month for Boehringer Ingelheim’s Spiriva HandiHaler. As a result of today’s decision, she could save more than $3,000 a year on the inhaler that she needs to breathe. 

Today, I am calling on the three other major manufacturers of inhalers to take similar action. And they are AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Teva. If Boehringer Ingelheim can take action to cap the cost of inhalers at $35 in the United States and lower the list price of some of the inhalers it manufactures, these other companies can do the same.

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.