GSK Discontinues Branded Asthma Inhaler Flovent, Concerns Arise Over Insurance Coverage
Pharmaceutical company GSK has announced the discontinuation of its branded asthma inhaler, Flovent, and its replacement with an authorized generic version. This decision has raised concerns among doctors about potential delays in patients switching to and receiving coverage for the alternative generic version from insurance providers.
Flovent has been the most commonly used inhaled medication for asthma patients for the past 25-30 years. It has proven effective in managing the condition for numerous individuals. However, the authorized generic version is expected to work just as effectively. The major concern lies in its coverage by insurance companies, as it may not be as widely covered as the branded version.
Physicians are urging patients to take immediate action to ensure they have an adequate supply of their medication heading into the new year. The change in medication availability and lack of insurance coverage is due to a change in Medicaid rebates that could result in penalties for GSK. These penalties stem from previous price increases on Flovent, prompting the need for the switch to an authorized generic.
It is not just GSK that is making such changes. Other drugmakers are also anticipating the removal of the rebate cap and making similar adjustments. While the authorized generic version is priced lower than the branded Flovent, some patients may face additional challenges. For instance, another branded inhaler, Pulmicort, is receiving preferential placement on the formulary of major pharmacy benefit manager, CVS Caremark.
Patients with persistent asthma heavily rely on daily preventative medication like Flovent, especially during the winter respiratory virus season. For them, the lack of insurance coverage for the authorized generic may prove to be problematic. This could force them to seek new prescriptions for alternative medications, a task that can be arduous during the respiratory virus season.
Furthermore, patients with conditions like eosinophilic esophagitis, who heavily rely on Flovent, may have limited alternatives available to them. The discontinuation of the branded inhaler and the lack of insurance coverage for its authorized generic version may pose additional hurdles for these individuals.
In light of these concerns, doctors are advising patients to consult their healthcare providers and insurance companies promptly. It is crucial to ensure that necessary measures are taken to mitigate potential disruptions in medication supply and coverage. The transition to the authorized generic version of Flovent may require patients to be proactive and stay well-informed about their insurance coverage to navigate this change smoothly.
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