Following the waves of criticism Mylan faced last week from patients, doctors and politicians, the company announced on Monday that it will launch a generic version of the EpiPen, which will cost half the price of the current product.
The drugmaker said the generic EpiPen, which will be identical to the branded version, will be available in the next several weeks. While the existing product costs more than $600 for a two-pack, this generic version will be listed at $300 for a two-pack. It will be available in 0.15-milligram and 0.30-milligram strengths, similar to the existing product.
“We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of the EpiPen to the patient, and have always shared the public’s desire to ensure that this important product be accessible to anyone who needs it,” Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan, said in a statement.
“Our decision to launch a generic alternative to EpiPen is an extraordinary commercial response,” Bresch said. “Because of the complexity and opaqueness of today’s branded pharmaceutical supply chain and the increased shifting of costs to patients as a result of high deductible health plans, we determined that bypassing the brand system in this case and offering an additional alternative was the best option.”
Mylan drew heavy criticism from the public for raising the price of its auto-injector by more than 400 percent over the last eight years.
To counter the criticism, the company said last week it would expand patient assistance programs to commercially insured patients to help with out-of-pocket costs. Mylan also announced it will offer $300 copay cards, up from its current $100 savings program, for the branded version of the EpiPen.
But this response wasn’t enough to quell the public’s outrage, who pointed out that since the EpiPen’s list price didn’t change, the cost to the health care system would remain the same.
An online petition to Congress, called Stop the EpiPen Price Gouging, had nearly 140,000 signatures as of Monday morning.
According to The New York Times:
Mylan holds a virtual monopoly on epinephrine auto-injectors, which precisely calibrate the dosage of epinephrine, used to treat severe allergic reactions in an emergency situation.
A couple companies are vying for U.S. FDA approval to sell brand or generic versions of EpiPen, reported the Associated Press. Imprimis Pharmaceuticals said it would charge around $100 for a two-pack of the auto-injector. Versions of the auto-injector would probably not hit the market until next year, according to the AP.
Photo Credit: AP/Rich Pedroncelli
Filed Under: Drug Discovery