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AAFA's Advocacy for Health Equity Leads to White House Address on Asthma Inhaler Pricing

President Biden and Senator Sanders spotlight asthma in fight to reduce health care costs

Washington, DC, April 03, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As the leading advocacy organization focused on improving the access and affordability of asthma inhalers, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) joined President Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders today for a briefing on health care costs and inhaler pricing. 

The White House invited AAFA President and CEO, Kenneth Mendez, and Jenna Riemenschneider, AAFA Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, in recognition of the advocacy group’s work to advance health equity for people with asthma. 

“On behalf of the 27 million people in the United States with asthma, we appreciate the leadership of President Biden and Senator Sanders to bring down costs for asthma treatments. Pricing announcements made in March by some manufacturers of inhalers will mean lower costs and improved access to asthma medicine for many people with asthma starting this June,” stated Mendez. “As President Biden indicated, more can and should be done. It’s not just drug companies, others need to step forward. We welcome continued efforts to improve affordability and accessibility of these essential medicines so all patients can get the treatment they need.” 

Three major inhaler manufacturers announced a $35 a month cap for asthma inhalers in March. Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, and GSK each plan to cap out-of-pocket costs of asthma inhalers. Some price changes will begin June 1, 2024.

"We are also encouraged that starting in 2025, the cost of all prescription medicines for people on Medicare will not exceed $2000 a year,” Mendez said. “We urge policymakers to take additional steps to lower costs, including through the Medicaid program and through policy reform to address the complex drug pricing ecosystem.”

AAFA believes all stakeholders – drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, insurers, employers, and the government – have a role to play in eliminating the barrier to treatment caused by the high costs of medicines.

“The top reason for people to have untreated asthma has been related to the high costs of these medicines,” said Melanie Carver, AAFA chief mission officer. “Lower out-of-pocket costs have the potential to drastically improve asthma health outcomes. There is more work to be done to reduce costs. The new price caps from manufacturers do not apply to seniors on Medicare and families on Medicaid.” 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 allows Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies. This can help reduce costs for brand name Medicare Part B and Part D drugs. In August 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the first 10 drugs that will undergo the first cycle of negotiations. No asthma drugs were included on that initial list. 

Affordable access to asthma medications can save lives, reduce hospitalizations, and lower the more than $82 billion in annual costs to the U.S. economy from this chronic disease.  

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About AAFA 

Founded in 1953, AAFA is the oldest and largest non-profit patient organization dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma, allergies, and related conditions through research, education, advocacy, and support. AAFA offers extensive support for individuals and families affected by asthma and allergic diseases, such as food allergies and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Through its online patient support communities, network of regional chapters, and collaborations with community-based groups, AAFA empowers patients and their families by providing practical, evidence-based information and community programs and services. AAFA is the only asthma and allergy patient advocacy group that is certified to meet the standards of excellence set by the National Health Council. For more information, visit: aafa.org 

Attachments


Andy Spears
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
2029741223
media@aafa.org