Press Releases

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Highmark, Boehringer Ingelheim announce value-based contract for COPD medication Stiolto® Respimat®

PITTSBURGH, Pa. and Ridgefield, Conn. (Dec. 12, 2019) — Highmark and Boehringer Ingelheim today announced a new value-based contract for Boehringer Ingelheim’s Stiolto® Respimat® (tiotropium bromide & olodaterol) Inhalation Spray for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This marks the second value-based contract between the two companies. It is also the first contract for Highmark to include Medicare plans in addition to commercial health plans.

This contract confirms the commitment of both companies to improving patient care and lowering overall health care costs by linking reimbursement to patient outcomes. Using the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guideline-based care as a benchmark, Highmark will evaluate whether Stiolto Respimat reduces the total cost for both in-patient and out-patient COPD care for members compared to the costs for members who use other drugs to treat the health condition.

COPD is a progressive respiratory disease that affects more than one in 20 adults in the U.S. The condition is the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and it is projected to cost the U.S. health care system about $49 billion in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that more than 16.4 million work days are lost each year due to the complications of COPD.

The new agreement, which expands Highmark’s efforts to address high prescription drug costs and enhance patient care, is the second agreement between Highmark and Boehringer Ingelheim. The first agreement focused on a drug from Boehringer Ingelheim that treats adults with type 2 diabetes who have cardiovascular disease.

"We at Highmark are committed to ensuring that our members and patients have access to effective and affordable treatments," says Sarah Marchè, senior VP of pharmacy services for Highmark. "Value-based contracts are a pillar of that strategy, along with site-of-care initiatives and condition-specific care pathways that improve and streamline treatment for chronic, high-cost diseases. We believe that our agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim will benefit our Medicare and commercial members by validating the overall value offered by Stiolto Respimat."

"Boehringer Ingelheim continues to lead our industry by seeking more outcomes-focused solutions to help rein in health care costs and remains committed to finding the best value for our patients," said Christine Marsh, senior vice president, market access, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "We are proud of Stiolto Respimat, and this agreement is the first-of-its-kind for Boehringer Ingelheim in respiratory care. We hope this agreement with Highmark helps to improve outcomes for patients by emphasizing quality of care over quantity of care."


Do not use STIOLTO if you have asthma. People with asthma who take long-acting beta2-agonist (LABA) medicines, such as olodaterol, (one of the medicines in STIOLTO), without also using a medicine called an inhaled corticosteroid, have an increased risk of serious problems from asthma, including being hospitalized, needing a tube placed in their airway to help them breathe, or death.

Do not use STIOLTO if you are allergic to tiotropium, ipratropium, atropine or similar drugs, olodaterol, or any ingredient in STIOLTO.

Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical care if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including: rash, hives, itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat, and difficulties in breathing or swallowing.

Get emergency medical care if your breathing problems worsen quickly or if you use your rescue inhaler but it does not relieve your breathing problems. Call your healthcare provider if breathing problems worsen over time while using STIOLTO.

Do not use STIOLTO more often than prescribed by your doctor. Do not use STIOLTO with other LABAs or anticholinergics.

Do not use STIOLTO for treating sudden breathing problems. Always have a rescue inhaler with you to treat sudden symptoms.

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including heart problems, high blood pressure, seizures, thyroid problems, diabetes, kidney problems, glaucoma, enlarged prostate, and problems passing urine.

STIOLTO can cause serious side effects, including sudden shortness of breath that may be life threatening, fast or irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, chest pain, tremor, headache, nervousness, high blood sugar, or low blood potassium that may cause muscle weakness or abnormal heart rhythm. If any of these happens, stop taking STIOLTO and seek immediate medical help.

STIOLTO can cause new or worsening eye problems including narrow-angle glaucoma, and can increase the pressure in your eyes, which can cause the following symptoms: eye pain, blurred vision, seeing halos or colored images along with red eyes. If you have any of these symptoms, stop taking STIOLTO and call your doctor right away.

STIOLTO can cause new or worsened urinary retention. Symptoms of urinary retention may include difficulty passing urine, painful urination, urinating frequently, or urinating in a weak stream or drips. If you have any of these symptoms, stop taking STIOLTO and call your doctor right away.

The most common side effects of STIOLTO are runny nose, cough, and back pain.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, eye drops, vitamins, and herbal supplements. STIOLTO and certain other medicines may affect each other.

STIOLTO is for oral inhal ation only.

The STIOLTO cartridge is only intended for use with the STIOLTO RESPIMAT inhaler. Do not spray STIOLTO into your eyes. Your vision may become blurred and your pupils may become larger (dilated).

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the step-by-step patient Instructions for Use for STIOLTO RESPIMAT before you use your inhaler. Please see accompanying full Prescribing InformationPatient Information, and Instructions for Use for STIOLTO RESPIMAT.


STIOLTO® RESPIMAT® (tiotropium bromide and olodaterol) Inhalation Spray is a prescription medicine used long term, 2 puffs 1 time each day, in controlling symptoms in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a chronic lung disease that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both.

STIOLTO is not for treating sudden symptoms of COPD. Always have a rescue medicine with you to treat sudden symptoms.

STIOLTO is not for asthma.


One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of 4.5 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance, vision care and other related businesses. For more information, visit


Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, Conn., is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation.

Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, the company operates globally with approximately 50,000 employees. Since its founding in 1885, the company has remained family-owned, and today our goal is to improve the lives of humans and animals through its three business areas: human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing.

Boehringer Ingelheim concentrates on developing innovative therapies that can improve and extend patients’ lives. As a research-driven pharmaceutical company, it plans in generations for long-term success. Its research efforts are focused on diseases with high, unmet medical need. In animal health, the company stands for advanced prevention.

In 2018, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around $20.7 billion (17.5 billion euros). R&D expenditure of almost $3.7 billion (3.2 billion euros) corresponded to 18.1 per cent of net sales. Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving lives and strengthening our communities. Please visit to le0arn more about Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

For more information, please visit, or follow us on Twitter @BoehringerUS.

For more information, contact:
Leilyn Perri
Highmark Health

For more information, contact:
Chris Wahlers
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.