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Shortness of breath

Sepracor Inc. may be about to lose more than a quarter of the market for its Xopenex levalbuterol as the result of a technicality in the Medicare law - and the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services is reportedly hunting for other products that fall into the same crack.

Last week, SEPR said CMS confirmed its plan to pay for the asthma drug at the same rate as generic albuterol. The new policy, which goes into effect July 1, eliminates the reimbursement code for Xopenex under Medicare Part B and forces the product into a new code that lumps Xopenex together with generic albuterol products. Xopenex, which was approved in 1999, consists of the therapeutically active isomer of albuterol delivered via an inhaler.

SEPR (Marlborough, Mass.) declined

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