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Questcor Sees No Adverse Effect From Aetna Payment Change

Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc., which sank the most in 20 years yesterday after insurer Aetna Inc. said it would limit coverage of the company’s top-selling drug, is in discussions with the insurer and doesn’t expect the decision to hurt business, executives told investors.

“We do not expect the bulletin to have a material adverse impact,” Chief Executive Officer Don Bailey said today on a conference call. Reimbursement decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, he said.

Aetna, the third-biggest U.S. health plan, accounts for about 5 percent of Questcor’s prescriptions, the Anaheim, California-based drugmaker said today. The insurer said on its website that studies suggest Questcor’s medicine, H.P. Acthar, which is approved for multiple sclerosis and infant seizures, is “medically necessary” only for West syndrome, which causes infantile spasms.

“It’s clear that Aetna needs to receive some additional information from us,” Bailey said on the call. “You could tell with the various information they put out that they did not have a complete understanding of Acthar.”

The company is in discussions with Hartford, Connecticut-based Aetna as it is with all payers, Questcor’s executives said.

Questcor rose 15 percent to $30.33 at the close in New York, after yesterday dropping 48 percent for the biggest one-day drop since November 1992 on news of Aetna’s decision.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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