ASP: Budesonide reverses decline

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BALTIMORE - For the third straight quarter, neb-med providers are talking about budesonide, thanks to the drug's ongoing rollercoaster reimbursement.

In the latest average sales price figures, released in December, budesonide (J7626) reversed a steep decline, shooting up 64 cents to $4.92 per dose. During the two previous quarters, the drug had declined by a total of $2.14.

"A little bit of help right now on budesonide definitely goes a long way," said Dave McDonald, president of Texarkana, Texas-based Senior Respiratory. "But, I can guarantee you, my cost is going to go back up."

Provider Sam Jarczynski began dispensing a lower-strength dose of budesonide in October, after reimbursement for the drug hit $4.29 a dose.

"There aren't any other comparable nebulizer drugs that have the same benefits as budesonide," said Jarczynski, president of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based RxStat. "The patients really didn't have any alternative, but we never saw any problems."

Another reimbursement decline that had providers scratching their heads: DuoNeb (J7620), which slid five cents to 17.5 cents per dose.

"That's been our most stable, steady drug for three years," said McDonald. "The reimbursement is now about 2.5 cents lower than what I pay for it and my volume pricing is pretty darn significant."

Other pricing was as follows: albuterol (J7613), 14.5 cents per dose; Brovana (J7605), $5.32 per dose; Perforomist (J7606), $4.63 per dose; and ipratropium (J7644), 13 cents per dose.

Despite the unpredictable nature of the market, neb-med providers say they plan to stay the course, at least for now.

"We don't have a lot of big plans to change right now," said McDonald. "We continue to move steadily and take care of patients, even though it's becoming a lot more difficult to do this."