AAFA Applauds Senate Investigation into Pricing of Asthma Inhalers
Patient advocacy group calls for action to break down barriers that prevent access to and limit affordability of asthma treatment
Washington D.C. – January 9, 2024 The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) today applauded the announcement of a U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) investigation into the high costs of inhalers used for the treatment of asthma.
“Ten people die each day from asthma. With appropriate treatment, asthma is a disease that can be controlled,” said AAFA president and CEO Kenneth Mendez. “AAFA applauds the Senate HELP Committee for addressing the high costs of asthma inhalers. Access to these medications can save lives, reduce hospitalizations, and lower the more than $82 billion in annual costs to the US economy from this chronic disease.”
In a statement, AAFA noted that drug pricing in the U.S. is based on a complex system of inputs.
“The U.S. drug pricing system is complicated. Pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, insurance companies, employers, and federal policies can create situations that drive up costs and reduce access to critical medications.”
Mendez notes that the Senate HELP investigation can be a starting point for a deeper conversation about drug pricing and access to essential medications.
“We are hopeful the HELP Committee investigation will lead to a national conversation about asthma drug costs and produce action that breaks down barriers to affordable treatment for people with asthma. The bottom line is that cost drives access. We understand the barriers, now it is important to move toward solutions.”
AAFA shared the patient perspective with the HELP Committee and research from AAFA helped inform the committee’s investigation framework.
One of the AAFA reports cited in letters sent to drug manufacturers highlights disparities in asthma treatment and outcomes.
“AAFA’s Asthma Disparities in America report reveals that asthma disproportionately affects seniors, women, people who have low-income or low-wealth, and people who are Black, Hispanic, or Indigenous,” said AAFA chief mission officer Melanie Carver, a co-author of the report.
This investigation is an opportunity to highlight the burden of asthma borne by patients and families. It’s also important to address the systemic inequality driving unequal outcomes in our healthcare system.”
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (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 local chapters and affiliated support 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 and kidswithfoodallergies.org