Biden and Senator Sanders to highlight efforts lower cost of asthma inhalers

By Jarrett Renshaw

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will host a White House event with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday to highlight their efforts to cut the cost of inhalers for asthma suffers.

Sanders and other lawmakers in January criticized four manufacturers of inhalers sold in the U.S. — AstraZeneca, Boehringer, Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA.TA), and GSK (GSK.L), — over prices that were much higher in the U.S. than in other countries.

The Biden administration has also sought to crack down on what it calls falsely claimed patents in an effort to increase competition to lower inhaler costs.

In March, three of the four companies decided to cap inhaler costs at $35.

Asthma impacts 27 million Americans, including more than four million children, the White House said in a preview of the event.

Biden has made lowering healthcare costs a key part of his 2024 re-election campaign.

Biden will also highlight successful efforts included in the Inflation Reduction Act that placed a $2,000 cap on Medicare prescription drugs and a separate $35 cap on insulin.

He will also use the event to push to expand the number of Medicare drugs the federal government can negotiate with pharmaceutical companies from 10 to 50, the White House said.

Part of 2022’s Inflation Reduction Act allows Medicare to negotiate prices for prescription drugs that had been particularly expensive for the federal health program that covers millions of Americans aged 65 and older as well as the disabled.

(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Mary Milliken and Michael Perry)

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