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‘It’s a nightmare’: One of the most common children’s asthma meds is no longer available, leaving families scrambling

A commonly prescribed medication for children’s asthma is disappearing from pharmacists’ shelves, forcing parents and pediatricians to scramble for alternatives just as allergy season is about to start.

In a move unusual for such a widely used drug, GlaxoSmithKline discontinued Flovent HFA, the brand name of its corticosteroid treatment fluticasone propionate, at the end of December. Critics, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, say the decision helps the company avoid new Medicaid penalties going into effect this year for medications with price increases that outpace inflation.

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“It was all very confusing, and we were left scrambling, trying to find out what we could do,” said Simone Fung, whose 5-year-old son, David, endured worse asthma symptoms over the past two months as the Cambridge family navigated confusing insurance policies and shortages of alternative medications to find a replacement for Flovent.

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