Doctors warn about upcoming asthma switch in January

Starting January 1, the branded asthma inhaler Flovent will be discontinued by GSK, with an “authorized generic” version being offered instead. While the authorized generic is identical in function, it doesn’t appear to be covered as widely by insurers. This change is part of GSK’s strategy to avoid penalties associated with Medicaid rebates, as a legal change in January removes the cap on Medicaid rebates for drugs with significant price increases. GSK’s authorized generic is priced lower than branded Flovent, but insurance plans may not cover it, potentially causing disruptions for patients in the winter respiratory virus season. The strategy of discontinuing and offering an authorized generic is seen as a way for pharmaceutical companies to maintain profitability amid changing Medicaid rebate policies.

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