Mylan bites back at system with generic EpiPen
- In response to pushback regarding the price of EpiPen, Mylan said Monday morning it would offer its own generic version of the drug-device combo at $300 for a two-pack, roughly half the $608 list price of branded EpiPen.
- CEO Heather Bresch announced last week Mylan would begin covering $300 of out-of-pocket costs for the anaphylaxis treatment, along with expanding the current discount program for uninsured and underinsured patients.
- Critics, including members of Congress, quickly attacked Mylan's efforts to discount EpiPen, saying the move was insufficient to alleviate the cost burden on patients.
Despite the bad PR Mylan has seen for its steep price increases for its epinephrine auto-injector, the generics company has been responding rapidly to critics with moves that will likely be positive for some patients.
In in its latest response, Mylan will launch a generic version of EpiPen, which will be identical to the original branded product. The company indicated the generic copy will be released on the market in several weeks after completion of labeling revisions.
Last week, Bresch made several comments on CNBC which deflected blame from Mylan and criticized the overall healthcare system, drawing the ire of the industry:
"That $608 is a list price. What Mylan takes from that, our net sales is $274. So $137 per pen. And against that, manufacturing the product, distributing the product, enhancing the product, investing. When we took over this product eight years ago, there was very, very little awareness. We took on – we have doubled the lives of patients that are carrying an EpiPen. We have passed legislation in 48 states to allow undesignated EpiPens to be in schools," Bresch said, defending the 400% price hike on EpiPen since 2007.
Now, in direct response to the continued criticism, Mylan will be offering a generic version of EpiPen via direct-mail, cutting out pharmacies.
"Our decision to launch a generic alternative to EpiPen is an extraordinary commercial response, which required the cooperation of our partner," said Bresch in a statement on August 29.
"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," she added.
Mylan intends to continue offering the cost-savings and discount programs associated with the branded version of the drug.
"Mylan also continues to fight for enhanced access to epinephrine auto-injectors through other measures, such as inclusion of the product on the federal and private insurance preventive drug lists, which could potentially eliminate all co-pays," the company wrote in the statement.
The controversy over EpiPen came to a head last week when Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton released a statement about the product, calling for a lower price. This was compounded by letters from several members of Congress demanding Mylan explain the price increases.
EpiPen is an epinephrine auto-injector that is used in emergency situations. The product counters anaphylactic shock caused by allergic reactions, such as those triggered by certain foods or bee stings.
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