OAKLAND, Calif. — Dr. Dana Goldman, the director of the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California, said that because inhalers are cheap to produce and so effective at keeping patients out of hospitals, most national health systems made sure they were free or inexpensive.
But in the United States, where no generic asthma inhalers are available, even people with insurance coverage struggle. For most patients, asthma medicines are life-changing, which keeps demand and prices high.
Generic inhalers are common in Europe, where health regulators have been more flexible about mixing drugs and devices, and where courts have been quicker to overturn drug patent protection. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.