Alison A. Galbraith M.D., M.P.H., Vicki Fung Ph.D., Lingling Li Ph.D., Melissa G. Butler Pharm.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., B.C.P.S., James D. Nordin M.D., M.P.H., John Hsu M.D., M.B.A., David Smith Ph.D., R.Ph., William M. Vollmer Ph.D., Tracy A. Lieu M.D., M.P.H., Stephen B. Soumerai Sc.D., Ann Chen Wu M.D.,M.P.H.
To examine changes in children's albuterol use and out‐of‐pocket () costs in response to increased copayments after the Food and Drug Administration banned inhalers with chlorofluorocarbon () propellants.
Four health maintenance organizations (s), two that increased copayments for albuterol inhalers that went from generic ‐containing to branded ‐free versions, and two that retained generic copayments for ‐free inhalers (controls). We included children with asthma aged 4–17 years with commercial coverage from 2007 to 2010.
Interrupted time series with comparison series.
We obtained enrollee and plan characteristics from enrollment files, and utilization data from pharmacy and medical claims; expenditures were extracted from pharmacy claims for two s with cost data available.
There were no significant differences in albuterol use between the group with increased cost‐sharing and controls with respect to changes after the policy change. There was a postpolicy increase of $6.11 per month per child using albuterol among those with increased cost‐sharing versus $0.36 in controls; the difference between groups was significant ( < .01).
Increased copayments for brand‐name ‐free albuterol after the ban did not lead to a decrease in children's albuterol use, but it led to a modest increase in costs.