Competition on the way for EpiPen
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
EpiPen, a life-saving epinephrine auto-injector used by many Americans to address severe allergic reactions, has experienced significant price increases in recent years. In 2009, an EpiPen twin-pack was priced at $100, but the price has spiked to $600 this year, which many find astounding for a product that costs only a few dollars to produce.
This has sparked both immense concern and outrage among consumers as well as lawmakers. A petition to Congress quickly formed, protesting the price increase and the potential for additional increases.
But help may be on the way from a familiar name.
The rising cost of EpiPens has led to mounting concerns that people would not be able to afford the pens to address a severe allergic reaction to bee stings, peanuts or other allergens in an emergency situation. In an effort to alleviate some of the panic, Mylan announced that it would provide patients with instant savings cards that would help to cover up to $300 of the out-of-pocket costs of EpiPen. But this did not completely quell the concern.
In the mist of this controversy, the makers of Auvi-Q — an EpiPen rival that was removed from the market in 2015 — announced that it is poised to make a comeback in the first half of 2017.
When Auvi-Q was originally released, it was touted as a clever alternative to EpiPen. The added feature of a voice instruction that would guide users through the process of making an injection only made Auvi-Q more appealing, but it was recalled in 2015 because of reports that it was not delivering the proper doses of epinephrine.
In an effort to fix this issue, multiple quality checks have been implemented with the goal of getting it back on the market. The upcoming availability of Auvi-Q is great news for many consumers and lawmakers who have been concerned for some time about the rising price of EpiPen and the lack of competition for alternatives.
While it is still not entirely known whether Auvi-Q's cost will differ from Mylan's EpiPen, some are hopeful of the prospect of lower prices as a result of competition between the two. There is great importance being placed on pricing of these products, because many believe patients should be able to afford this life-saving drug without substantial barriers or issues in the form of higher out-of-pocket costs.
Competition has the potential to create a pricing battle and lead to greater access to these life-saving drugs. Consumers want to be able to use epinephrine auto-injectors when needed and not have cost be the reason why they are unable to get a drug that can mean the difference between life and death for someone undergoing an allergic reaction.
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