US pharmacy chain CVS has begun selling a generic version of Mylan’s EpiPen for about one sixth the price of the branded medicine. The epinephrine auto-injector is a generic version of the lesser-known Adrenaclick, and will be sold for $109.99 for a two-pack.
Mylan, makers of the EpiPen, have faced increased scrutiny over their pricing practices in recent years. Currently, a two pack of their device costs $600 – nearly six times the price of the generic.
According to CVS, they are offering the generic medical device at almost 50 percent of its original cost. The lower price will be available at all 9,600 retail locations of the pharmacy chain, including those located inside Target stores.
“We’re encouraged to see national efforts to make epinephrine auto-injectors more affordable and more available to Americans across the country,” said Dr. Cary Sennett, President and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “Partnerships that increase access to vital medications are key in helping those suffering from life-threatening allergies.”
The epinephrine auto injectors are used to treat anaphylaxis in patients with severe allergies. Since the drug expires after a year, patients must refill their prescriptions on an annual basis. The price increases have pushed some patients to hold onto their unused, expired EpiPens instead of buying new ones.
With a near-100 percent market share, the price of the EpiPen has increased over 500 percent since 2007. In September of last year, Mylan’s CEO Heather Bresch faced a Congressional panel on drug pricing where she defending the price increases by citing improvements made to the medical device’s design.
In December, Mylan launched its own generic version of the EpiPen, priced at 50 percent less than the original branded version. The company also expanded financial assistance options for patients who qualify.