STAT+: Here’s why there aren’t many cheap, generic versions of pricey inhalers

U.S. regulators approved dozens of inhalers to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease over a recent 15-year period, but a new study found that generic companies have only twice successfully pursued an established pathway to create lower-cost, rival products.

The paltry outcome was largely blamed on steps that brand-name manufacturers take to forestall would-be competitors, as well as the high bar for regulatory approval. As a result, the study authors argued that a decades-old law designed to encourage generic drug development has failed to foster sufficient competition for inhalers and that reforms are needed to create lower-cost options.

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