Flovent Inhaler Discontinuation Causing Concerns Over Generic Switch

A widely used asthma medicine is disappearing from drugstore shelves starting this month, and doctors are worried that some patients may struggle with switching to an alternative generic version if their insurance doesn’t cover the new option.

At the end of 2023, drugmaker GSK halted U.S. sales of its brand-name drug Flovent, an inhaled corticosteroid that has been used for years to manage asthma symptoms in children and adults. As of this month, the only version of the drug sold in the United States is an authorized generic made by GSK that contains the same ingredients.

GSK has said that its authorized generic contains the same medicine as the discontinued brand-name Flovent inhalers — and that the new options “will provide patients in the U.S. with potentially lower cost alternatives.”

The trouble is that these Flovent generics may not be covered by insurance at all, requiring some patients to pay hundreds of dollars a month for their asthma medicine, doctors say.

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