2 Years After The EpiPen Price Hike, Has Anything Changed?

A deeper look though indicates that maybe nothing has changed, and Mylan continues to profit off their price gouge.

Prices have remained stable, and high

When Mylan released EpiPen’s authorized generic, epinephrine, back in December of 2016, they touted a 50% discount to around $300 for a two-pack of autoinjectors. This news was promising, as prices for generic drugs typically continue to drop in the years following their release. But two years later, this hasn’t happened, and prices have remained at almost $200 per injector (~$400 for a box of 2-injectors). Additionally, despite the outcry, prices for brand-name Epipen have also remained stable—one autoinjector currently costs almost $350.

Currently, Mylan holds patent protections on EpiPen that last until 2025, which prohibits other manufacturers from creating their own version of Epipen. This lack of competition has likely resulted in the stagnant generic prices, as Mylan can set the price as they see fit.

Mylan continues to profit off of both the brand and generic

As expected, fills for generic epinephrine quickly surpassed fills for brand EpiPen as soon as it hit the market in December 2017. It’s no surprise—people would rather fill the less expensive version, than shell out for the drug that caused international uproar.

It sounds like a success story, right? Public outcry results in a generic release that saves people over 50%. Wrong. Mylan now profits from both the brand and generic, a fact that continues to be overlooked. What’s more, Mylan priced the generic around $150 per injector, the same price that brand EpiPen had been back in 2014, years after Mylan began hiking the price for EpiPen.

Even though Mylan patted themselves on the back for this “unprecedented action,” it is clear that they have properly gamed the system and will continue to profit off both generic epinephrine and brand Epipen for the next 7 years.

So what are my options now?

Because of its time in the limelight, EpiPen is the most well-known of all the autoinjectors, but there are others available you may want to consider.

Adrenaclick, and the generic epinephrine, is the most popular alternative to Epipen. Like Epipen, Adrenaclick is a pen-shaped autoinjector that comes in dosages for both Adults and children. If your insurance won’t cover your autoinjector, generic adrenaclick may be a good option for you—CVS now sells it for $109.99

During the EpiPen pricing controversy, manufacturer Kaleo made it their mission to develop an affordable autoinjector and released Auvi-Q. The average cash price for Auvi-Q is expensive, but the manufacturer has made it easy for many patients to access it for free through the Auvi-Q Affordability program. You can read more about this program here.

We will soon be able to add a fourth autoinjector to the list. This August, Novartis announced that they will soon begin distribution for a new autoinjector, Symjepi. While Symjepi’s price has not yet been released, a recent study revealed that it might result in fewer user errors than EpiPen. Stay tuned.

Lastly, if EpiPen works best for you, make sure you’re taking the generic. The only difference between the brand and generic is the name, so you won’t have to relearn a new system entirely. Additionally, Mylan also offers a manufacturer program for insured patients, though it only offers savings up to $25 per fill. Read more about this program here.

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