Mylan to introduce generic EpiPen at half the price

In response to public outrage over the EpiPen price hike, pharmaceutical company Mylan said it will introduce an identical generic version with a wholesale list price of $300 for a pack of two, instead of more than $600 for the existing product, according to The New York Times.

Mylan has been the target of a flood of criticism from consumers, medical groups and politicians for raising the price of its brand name EpiPen, which is used to treat severe allergic reactions, by 400 percent since 2007.

Amid mounting pressure to lower its prices, Amsterdam-based Mylan said last week that it would increase the financial assistance it offered commercially insured patients to stem out-of-pocket costs. The company also said it would expand eligibility for the uninsured to receive EpiPens for free.

However, those concessions did little to remedy the public's scorn, largely because the product's list price didn't change. As a result, the overall cost to the health system would stay the same, according to the report.

Mylan's decision to offer a generic alternative, which will lower costs for commercial and federal insurers, will be in addition to the prior measures.

"We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of the 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," Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan, said in a statement, according to The New York Times. She called the company's decision "an extraordinary commercial response."

While the generic version of the EpiPen is significantly lower than the brand name version, the $300 price tag is still triple the price of what the brand name cost when Mylan acquired it in 2007. Then, a pack of two EpiPens cost $100, according to the report.

The company addressed why it decided to introduce a generic alternative that is identical to the EpiPen instead of just lowering the brand name product's list price, according to the report. Mylan suggested that lowering the EpiPen's list price would require a complicated approval process from Pfizer, its manufacturing partner, and that reducing the price would not guarantee patients would pay less, as out-of-pocket costs are determined by pharmacy benefit managers and insurers.

"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," Ms. Bresch said in her statement, according to the report.

More articles on supply chain:
Ex-Turing CEO Martin Shkreli injects himself into EpiPen debate, defends price hike
Senators ask FDA for EpiPen alternatives: 4 things to know
Express Scripts CMO: Mylan can lower EpiPen costs whenever it wants

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