Symbicort, an inhaler marketed to people whose lung disease makes them “huff and puff,” rolls off the manufacturing line at a price of $327 for a month’s supply.
A familiar TV ad, in which a little girl compares her grandfather’s cough to the Big Bad Wolf from “The Three Little Pigs,” trumpets the drug’s benefits and advises about side effects but doesn’t mention the list price.
That could change under the Trump administration’s proposed rules that would require companies to disclose the cost in legible print on any video ads.
The pharmaceutical industry is fighting back, arguing that consumers should be able to find the price elsewhere and that few people end up paying the list price anyway.
In the case of Symbicort, some customers pay nothing under AstraZeneca’s “zero pay” program. Seniors on Medicare will shell out varying sums as they move through the year, depending on whether they have surpassed certain spending limits.
Enrollees in suburban Maryland with a SilverScript Choice plan would pay $46 at a CVS pharmacy near the Beltway until they hit Medicare’s “doughnut hole” — when the have spent enough for their government subsidy to shrink and their out-of-pocket cost rises to $82, according to the Medicare Plan Finder portal.