EpiPen Maker Mylan Reveals Generic That’s Still Triple The Price

AP photo

AP photo

Facing public and political wrath for steep price hikes on life-saving EpiPens, the devices’ manufacturer, Mylan, announced Monday that it will offer a cheap generic. But the generic isn’t that cheap.

Since Mylan bought EpiPens in 2007, the company has increased the price from around $50 for a single pen to a little more than $600 for a two pack—a more than 400 percent increase in costs. The new generic option, which the company said will be identical to EpiPens and available in a few weeks, is a two-pack with a list price of $300. That’s half of the current list price for a two pack, but still triple the 2007 cost of the devices.

EpiPens—auto-injectors that deliver a dose of epinephrine to reverse deadly allergic reactions, namely anaphylaxis shock—cost just a few dollars to make and have not changed considerably since Mylan acquired them. Since the price hikes, Mylan has raked in more than $1 billion in revenue each year. The company’s chief executive, Heather Bresch, saw her salary increase by more than 600 percent, topping $18 million last year. She’s one of the highest paid executives in the industry.

In a news release, Bresch explained the decision to provide a generic, saying:

We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of 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. Our decision to launch a generic alternative to EpiPen® is an extraordinary commercial response, which required the cooperation of our partner [Pfizer].

However, 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.

Read the rest of this story on Ars Technica.

More from the Associated Press: 

Mylan says it will make available a generic version of its EpiPen, as criticism mounts over the price of its injectable medicine.

The company said Monday that its U.S. subsidiary will put out a generic version of the EpiPen that will have a list price of $300 for a two-pack — about half the current price. It will be available in both 0.15 mg and 0.30 mg strengths.

EpiPens are used in emergencies to treat severe allergies to insect bites and foods like nuts and eggs that can lead to anaphylactic shock.

People usually keep a number of EpiPens handy at home, school or work. The syringes, prefilled with the hormone epinephrine, expire after a year.

Mylan N.V. said that it anticipates having the generic versions available in the next several weeks. It will continue to market and distribute a branded EpiPen.

The company charges $608 for a two-pack of the branded EpiPen. Mylan said it will keep in place the $300 savings card for the branded EpiPen and the revised patient assistance program announced last week.

Consumers and politicians have accused the company of price-gouging, considering that the product has been on the market since 1987 and the price didn’t start rising significantly until Mylan acquired it in 2007.

There is also little competition, with the only rival product being Adrenaclick, which carries a list price of $461.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch has defended the price hikes, saying the company only received $274 of the total price for a twin-package while insurers, pharmacies and other parties divvy up the rest.

People usually keep a number of EpiPens handy at home, school or work. The syringes, prefilled with the hormone epinephrine, expire after a year.

Numerous members of Congress and other politicians this week have called for congressional hearings on Mylan’s pricing, an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and action by the Food and Drug Administration to increase competition by speeding up approvals of any rival products.

At least two companies are trying to get U.S. approval to sell a rival brand or generic version of EpiPen. None is likely to hit the U.S. market until well into next year. Relief could come sooner from Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, a compounding pharmacy that prepares medicines to fill individual prescriptions. It said it might be able to sell a version in a few months and would likely charge around $100 for two injectors.

The post EpiPen Maker Mylan Reveals Generic That’s Still Triple The Price appeared first on MintPress News.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from MintPress News, and written by arstechnica. Read the original article here.