How Big Insurance, PBMs, the FDA, Congress…

The piece I wrote last week about the high cost of breathing for many Americans, including me, prompted calls and emails and turned out to be more timely than I expected. As I noted, my Medicare Part D pharmacy plan required me to pay $606.00 for a three-month supply of Symbicort, one of the leading inhaler brands. What I have learned is that the cost of inhalers for people in the U.S. with asthma (25 million), COPD (16 million) and other respiratory issues has been increasing rapidly, in large part because of the unavailability of approved generics. And insurers and their PBMs, largely useless when it comes to health care price increases, punish people who need inhalers by making them pay more and more every year out of our own pockets.

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