Armed Forces News

TRICARE beneficiaries with chronic asthma and other respiratory conditions will be limited to one inhaler prescription every 30 days, because of the high demand for these medications triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The inhalers here contain the active ingredients albuterol or levalbuterol. The albuterol inhalers are distributed under the brand names ProAir, Proventil and Ventolin, or as generics.

The levalbuterol inhaler is issued under the name Xopenex, and also is available in generic form. Beneficiaries who need a prescription for these drugs and request refills on the 22nd day after receiving a prior prescription. Pharmacists can provide an additional inhaler, but only in cases deemed medically necessary.

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The copayment process remains unchanged. Generic albuterol, for example, will cost $10 per inhaler through mail order, $13 at a retail network pharmacy, and will be free at a military pharmacy. Brand-name and non-formulary inhalers will cost more.

The decision to limit distribution of these medications is based upon recommendations by the American Medical Association.

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