Medicare patients struggle to obtain COPD inhalers

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A recent investigation from Kaiser Health News looked at how patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often struggle to pay for medications, inhalers and oxygen.

The piece features Juanita Milton, a 67-year-old Medicare enrollee who has to stretch a fixed income to afford two kinds of inhalers.

Brian Stigall, MD, of Hill Country Medical Associates in New Braunfels, Texas, keeps a closet full of free drug samples for patients like Milton.

“Thank goodness, the drug reps are good. They bring us lots of samples,” Stigall said. “I save those samples back for those Medicare patients. [Without the inhalers,] they are going to end up back in the hospital and they’re going to end up seeing me much more often.”

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