ASP figures up over last quarter

Thursday, March 25, 2010

BALTIMORE - Most nebulizer medications will see a slight boost in reimbursement for the second quarter of 2010, according to average sales price (ASP) figures released March 18.

"It's almost scary--the ASP method might be working," said David McDonald, president/owner of Texarkana, Texas-based Senior Respiratory Solutions.

Long-acting bronchodilators (LABA) Brovana (J7605) and Perforomist (J7606) enjoyed the biggest increases: Brovana rose nearly 23 cents to $5.32 per dose and Perforomist rose 20 cents to $4.72 per dose.

In December, Medicare stopped requiring that patients first try a short-acting drug before one of the LABA drugs.

"We're absolutely seeing more prescriptions for it," said McDonald. "There's a lot better therapy with LABA drugs."

Although reimbursement for the drugs has remained consistently high, for some providers, it's more about the patient.

"We promote Brovana and Perforomist a little bit to new patients, but we're not actively pursuing patients to change from an old drug to a new one just for profitability," said Sam Jarczynski, president of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based RxStat. "We just look out for the patient's best interest."

Other drugs also saw increases: Ipratroprium (J7644) was up a penny to 11.8 cents a dose and albuterol (J7613) rose 3 cents to 15.5 cents per dose.

That's a "nice" turnaround for a drug that, last fall, was being reimbursed at about 12 cents per dose, said Wayne Vega, vice president of sales for Harvard Drug Group. In October, drug manufacturers increased the price tag of the drug from about 10 cents per dose to between 15 and 17 cents per dose (See HME News, December 2009).

"You have to endure a little pain to correct something that should not have happened," said Vega. "I think we may see more improvements in the near future as well."

Budesonide (J7626) stayed flat at about $6.42 cents per dose and DuoNeb (J7620) decreased just over a penny to 1.4 cents per dose.