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Roundtable in Wausau looks at costs of inhalers

Senator Tammy Baldwin hosts a roundtable on the cost of inhalers in Wausau
Adriana Daniel
WAOW Television
Senator Tammy Baldwin hosts a roundtable on the cost of inhalers in Wausau

Senator Tammy Baldwin was in Wausau on Wednesday, hosting a roundtable discussion on the cost of inhalers.

According to Senator Baldwin, there are over 3,500 preventable asthma-related deaths in the United States every year. Baldwin and her colleagues in the senate have been investigating the cost of inhalers by four leading manufacturers of the life-saving medicine. Since then, three companies, Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, and GSK, have announced they will drop their out-of-pocket costs to $35 per month. Boehringer Ingelheim and AstraZeneca price decrease will go into effect on June 1st, 2024.

During the discussion, several community advocates and doctors spoke about the impact the high costs of inhalers have on their patients and clients. Dr. David Edmonson, an allergy immunologist with ENT & Allergy Associates in Wausau, brought up another hurdle patients are experiencing, having their medicine denied by insurance companies.

"I brought here today, this was just twenty minutes worth of faxes on denials, inhaler denials... I have about twenty of these a day," Dr. Edmonson said. "...The amount of staff time and my time dealing with insurance bureaucracy is incredible."

A school nurse in attendance said many parents can't afford to have a spare inhaler at school due to how expensive the medicine is.

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