Drugstore chain CVS has introduced a generic version of epinephrine in a syringe, rivaling that of Mylan’s EpiPen. Pharmaceutical giant Mylan faced an onslaught of unrelenting questioning in a Congressional hearing in September about its rising costs.
Mylan’s EpiPen has seen a price hike of more the 500 percent since 2007. CEO Heather Bresch in repsonse to the Congression panel, said insurers were partly to blame for the soaring price of the allergy treatment. She stated that there were too many middlemen, like pharmacy benefits managers, that stand between initial production and consumption.
CVS’ generic version of the EpiPen, Adrenaclick, will cost $109.99 for a two-pack. This is just a sixth of the current price for Mylan’s life-saving allergy treatment, which can cost upwards of $600. After CVS announced this, shares in Mylan’s stock fell almost 2 percent in early trading.
Due to the chemical composition of the hormone epinephrine, the treatment expires after a year. This means that schools and parents of children with severe allergies have to re-stock annually, even if the treatment goes unused. Epinephrine is used to stop the body from going into anaphylactic shock, a fatal allergic reaction to insect bites, stings, and foods like nuts and eggs. The immediate nature of this allergic reaction requires an equally immediate treatment, which until now has been a market dominated by the EpiPen.
CVS’ Adrenaclick is now available at all of its drugstore locations. There are about 9,600 retail chains in the United States, including locations based inside Target stores, making CVS the second-largest drugstore chain in the nation.
In the fallout of this increased public and legislative ire, Mylan offered a more expansive financial aid to customers. However, patients who do not seek or are unaware for the financial aid are exposed to the full price, even if they qualify. Mylan also introduced it own, authorized generic version of the treatment in December. This generic version is still distinctly higher than Adrenaclick at $300 for a two-pack. However, patients who do not seek or are unaware for the financial aid are exposed to the full price, even if they qualify. CVS’ pricing is inclusive of insured and uninsured individuals.
Impax Laboratories, the makers of Adrenaclick, offer a discount to qualifying patients for its generic version.