Asthma patients, pharmacists hopeful after companies announce $35 price cap for inhalers

Recently, GSK, AstraZeneca and Boehringer Ingelheim share plans to complete pricing changes by January 2025
Elaine Collage 4/3/24
Posted at 10:51 AM, Apr 04, 2024

MILWAUKEE — A breath of fresh air for asthma sufferers as 3 of the 4 biggest pharmaceutical companies announce they will begin to cap the prices of inhalers.

We've been following this story for months, speaking with Wisconsinites struggling to breathe and afford their life-saving medication.

“It's the scariest thing ever to have an asthma attack and to know that I can't breathe on my own,” said Deangelo Coleman.

Deangelo Coleman had seven asthma attacks last year and one sent him to the hospital.

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Deangelo Coleman lives with asthma and says he spends around $120 a month for his two inhalers. He says the recent price cap announcement is a welcome relief.

“They said I almost died. They strapped me in the bed and strapped a tube around my face and told me how to breathe,” said Coleman.

The Milwaukee man now spends $120 a month for two inhalers he takes every day.

“I have to pay that money. No matter how sick I am, no matter if I can breathe or not,” said Coleman.

Recently, three out of the four companies, GSK, AstraZeneca, and Boehringer Ingelheim, announced that they plan on capping their prices at $35 a unit.

For people in Wisconsin, that could mean the difference between getting their medication and having to choose to go without it.

“We've definitely been trying to advocate for it to our patients,” said Dr. Tyler Andrysczyk, Clinical Pharmacist, at Hayat Pharmacy.

At the Hayat Pharmacy in Cudahy, Dr. Tyler Andrysczyk works to make sure his patients get needed medicine at an affordable price.

Dr. Tyler Andrysczyk, Clinical Pharmacist, Hayat Pharmacy. He says the recent announcement of some major pharmaceutical companies capping the price of asthma inhalers and breathing medications to $35 by the end of the year is a major step forward and hopes more patients will soon be able to afford life-saving medicine.

We first met him back in February after Sen. Tammy Baldwin joined a bipartisan congressional investigation into the skyrocketing price of inhalers.

He says the price cap the three companies are expected to roll out nationwide by the end of this year is a much-needed change in the right direction.

“What's really exciting is seeing that the big drug companies and politicians are actually starting to recognize the cost of medications and products that are really taking a toll on the American people,” said Dr. Andrysczyk.

While Coleman hasn't been able to take advantage of the lower prices just yet, he says the news is bittersweet.

“It's like a gift and a curse. I'm happy but why couldn't have been paying that? You knew that the whole time. You made your money already and now you're going to ease up a little bit? It's depressing,” said Coleman.