In brief: Xopenex, albuterol freefall; Pride goes manual

Sunday, March 23, 2008

BALTIMORE - Xopenex and albuterol took massive hits in the latest average sales price figures, released March 18. Xopenex (J7612) dropped from $1.11 per unit dose to 70 cents, while albuterol (J7613) plunged from $1.11 to a mere 11 cents. The sharp reductions are the results of an unbundling of the two drugs, which had been billed under the same code since July 2007. With the two drugs once again billed under separate codes, industry leaders expected changes in the reimbursement but most were shocked by Xopenex's dramatic drop. "It's political," said one industry insider. "Obviously, this is not the average selling price, and it's impacted by the decision to pull it out of the overall calculations for beta agonists." Other drugs stayed about the same: DuoNeb 81 cents; ipratropium, 21 cents; budesonide, $5.08.

Pride calls manual mobility 'a natural fit'
EXETER, Pa. - Pride Mobility Products has hired a seasoned rehab veteran to lead the company's charge into the standard and custom manual wheelchair market, where until now it has had only a minimal presence. "We feel that the manual chair segment of the industry is a natural fit for us, a natural transition," said Cody Verrett, national sales director for Quantum Rehab, the company's custom rehab division. "Customers of power mobility are the same customers for manual chair mobility." Pride has hired Mike McCarthy, ATS, as its national sales manager for manual wheelchairs and Synergy Seating products. McCarthy comes to Pride with roughly 15 years of hands-on experience with seating and mobility products, including the past seven with National Seating and Mobility. "Being a CRTS for all those years, I'd spend many days driving around with a mental note pad, thinking: 'Boy, that would be cool if I could do that,'" McCarthy said. "Now, at Quantum, I'll have the opportunity to go ahead and get those down and be a part of the development process."

Drive pushes into skilled nursing facilities
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. - Drive Medical's new Extended Care Group will focus on marketing the company's long term care products to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities through regional and national distributors, the company announced March 18. Drive intends to work closely with its dealer and distributor partners to build brand awareness and generate pull-through sales opportunities. The category includes long term care beds, patient lifts and slings, mattresses and therapeutic support surfaces; recliners, resident monitoring systems and over bed tables; wheelchairs and mobility, personal care and respiratory products.

Hoveround blames Medicare cuts for layoffs
SARASOTA, Fla. - After the first sales decline in company history, power wheelchair maker Hoveround has laid off 24 employees, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported last week. The layoffs leave Hoveround with 411 employees, about two-thirds its workforce from two years ago. Tom Kruse, Hoveround's CEO, told the Herald-Tribune that recent cuts in Medicare reimbursement and stricter eligibility requirements have hurt the company. Until this year, Hoveround's sales had increased steadily: $277,000 in 1992, $15.7 million in 1996, $40 million in 2001 and $100 million in 2006. The company's sales feel to $76 million in 2007, the Herald-Tribune reported.

Cardinal signs exclusive sleep deal
DUBLIN, Ohio - Cardinal Health has signed an exclusive agreement with SleepNet to be the sole distributor of its complete range of products throughout North and South America. SleepNet manufactures gel masks for sleep apnea patients. Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Cardinal will distribute SleepNet's IQ, Phantom, and MiniMe Nasal Masks and the Mojo Full Face Mask in the Americas.

CMS begins provider survey
BALTIMORE - CMS recently began distributing its annual Medicare Contractor Provider Satisfaction Survey (MCPSS) to a new sample of Medicare providers. The survey is designed to garner quantifiable data on provider satisfaction levels with key services provided by the Medicare fee-for-service contractors that process and pay Medicare claims. Providers selected to participate in the survey are being contacted by the survey contractor, Westat. Medicare will use the results to help evaluate the performance of the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). Additional information about the MCPSS is available at: