medication access; medication cost; compliance; adherence; asthma treatment; manufacturer coupons; drug insurance; drug benefit plans; insurance benefits; brand drugs; generic drugs; asthma; drug therapy


Medicine and Health Sciences | Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmaceutical Economics | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Asthma maintenance inhalers are inordinately expensive, inhibiting patients from affording their medication and compromising compliance and adherence and optimal health outcomes. The objective of this article was to examine and highlight the competitive world and challenged opportunity of manufacturers' coupons discounting the inordinate cost of respiratory inhalers and asthma treatment. The cost of asthma treatment, in particular the cost of respiratory medicines, even with health insurance, can be prohibitive (upwards of $700 per month for one inhaler). Medication costs restrict medication access. Compliance and adherence suffer attested by monthly maintenance inhalers being filled less than 50% of the time. Pharmaceutical manufacturers of branded drugs competitively offer and market discount programs designed to help offset out-of-pocket medication (copay or coinsurance) costs. However, these programs vary depending on the manufacturer and are contingent on the parameters of individual insurance plans and their respective pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). In an attempt to gain market advantage, manufacturers, coupons frequently change criteria making the opportunity of savings for patients and prescribing clinicians difficult to discern, implement and sustain.