AstraZeneca announces a cap on the cost of inhaler products 

The pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced that it will be yielding to demands for reduced prescription drug prices. From June 1st this year, there will be a limit on the cost of all of its inhaler medications in the US.

The cap will be $35 and includes drugs prescribed for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including Symbicort, Breztri Aerosphere, and Airsupra. Both insured and uninsured patients will be charged equally under this new pricing structure.

This announcement follows a recent legal setback for AstraZeneca. In a federal court, the company contested provisions within the Inflation Reduction Act that empower Medicare to negotiate prices for certain drugs.

AstraZeneca argued that these provisions infringed upon its due process rights and its entitlement to sell drugs at prices other than those dictated by the government. This week’s announcement seems to acknowledge the inevitable.

The legislation permits Medicare to negotiate prices for costly medications starting in 2026, focusing initially on drugs lacking generic competition and selecting the most expensive ones.

AstraZeneca has several such medications in its portfolio. For instance, the AZ-branded version of Farxiga is priced at $681.20 per 30-day supply, while Symbicort, an inhaler for asthma and COPD, is listed at $515.

However, the most financially burdensome drug for consumers is Tagrisso, used in cancer treatment. Its price is listed at $294.68 per 80 mg tablet, resulting in an annual therapy cost of $107,557 for patients undergoing treatment for a full year.

AstraZeneca is not the only company taking this patient-friendly approach. It follows Boehringer Ingelheim, which announced a similar $35 per month cap on out-of-pocket costs for all its inhalers, also effective from June 1.

Pharmaceutical companies face mounting pressure from Congress to address high drug prices, due to the price disparities between prescription drugs in the U.S. and other countries.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement, “It is critical that Congress bring together key stakeholders to help reform the healthcare system so patients can afford the medicines they need, not just today, but for the future.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *