At issue: New rates for inhaler drugs

June 25, 2007

Sepracor is unhappy with the way CMS proposes to pay for its Xopenex (levalbuterol HCl) Inhalation Solution. CMS plans to bundle levalbuterol with generic albuterol inhalation solutions under Medicare Part B.

Sepracor is unhappy with the way CMS proposes to pay for its Xopenex (levalbuterol HCl) Inhalation Solution. CMS plans to bundle levalbuterol with generic albuterol inhalation solutions under Medicare Part B. The new reimbursement rate is 0.525 cents per 0.5 mg of levalbuterol and 0.525 cents per 1 mg of generic albuterol. This translates into $1.31 per unit dose for the 1.25-mg dose of Xopenex Inhalation Solution, currently the most popular dosage used. Sepracor said that by bundling the two medications, the new reimbursement rate for levalbuterol is lower than what it used to be, while generic albuterol payment rates will be raised. The Marlborough, Mass., firm believes this is the first time a single-source drug has been lumped with multisource drugs that are not therapeutic equivalents for Medicare Part B reimbursement purposes. Sepracor hopes it can talk CMS out of the bundling proposal before the payment rate goes into effect on July 1.

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