Asthma drugs can generally be categorized into two:
- Daily controller: which you take daily as a part of your medical routine and
- Quick relievers: those that you take to get temporary relief in order to survive a sudden asthma attack. These inhalers contain beta 2 agonists, and albuterol being the most popular.
Generic albuterol MDIs had been available in USA for several years since 1980. Sadly the FDA took up the decision to ban them.
Usually an Albuterol inhaler would cost around $ 5 to $10, making it affordable to anyone who need it.
The FDA also plans to ban Primatine Mist (quick relief) inhalers, which are currently over the counter (without a prescription) for about $16 each. The new branded HFA MDI inhalers (Ventolin, Proventil, ProAir, and Xopenex) now cost between$30 to $65 each.
The new HFA inhalers will replace CFC inhalers (chlorofluorocarbon inhalers), the factors affecting inhaler cost is that they release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. But CFC inhalers are one-third the cost of the new HFA inhalers.
Now the controversy between cheap vs. expensive inhalers that has lately arisen is that there is no generic version available in the market. As a result in the race between branded vs. non branded inhalers, only the branded inhalers are taking lead in the market. And the cheap inhaler runs at about $25, as opposed to about to $13.50 for the cheapest CFC inhaler.
Moreover making the situation worse some insurance companies aren’t offering coverage for prescription drugs and other insurance companies are offering coverage on generic version. Therefore the condition is getting worse day after day.
As asthma medication becomes more expensive, it’s important for asthma patients to realize that they can reduce symptoms by controlling their indoor environment. For example, more perfect air purifiers, other environmental control measures etc. It is advised that some patients may buy nebulizers. Although the initial cost high but these are reusable. These will be valuable investment for them.