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Mylan Will Offer Generic EpiPen After Backlash

Mylan Will Offer Generic EpiPen After Backlash

Generic is $300 for a 2 pack, which is still a lot of money.

Mylan received massive backlash after it hiked the price of their EpiPen, a life saving allergy shot. At first the company said it would offer the medicine at a discount price, but now it has taken it a step further by offering a generic version.

But is it enough? The name brand costs $600, but Mylan only cut the price of the generic to $300, which is still a lot for a two pack.

From ARS Technica:

Since Mylan bought EpiPens in 2007, the company has increased the price from around $50 for a single pen to a little more than $600 for a two pack—a more than 400 percent increase in costs. The new generic option, which the company said will be identical to EpiPens and available in a few weeks, is a two-pack with a list price of $300. That’s half of the current list price for a two pack, but still triple the 2007 cost of the devices.

Some have wondered why Mylan “does not reduce the price across the board rather than introduce an identical generic.” Mylan said it has to do with Pfizer, its manufacturing partner. CEO Heather Bresch released this statement:

We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of 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. Our decision to launch a generic alternative to EpiPen® is an extraordinary commercial response, which required the cooperation of our partner [Pfizer]. 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.

Usually drug companies offer generic brands when another company produces a generic version. Mylan does not have this problem, but could soon because of the high prices. Now these other drug companies could try to develop a generic version while “pressure is mounting on the Food and Drug Administration, which rejected a generic version from Teva earlier this year, to perhaps be more accommodating in letting alternatives on the market.”

People lashed out at Mylan when the company raised the price of the two pack to $600. The Wall Street Journal reported that Mylan and other drug companies said “insurance plans that force consumers to pay an ever-larger share of drug costs out of pocket, and note that few health insurers and drug-benefit managers pay a drug’s list price because of rebates and discounts.”

Mylan said it will expand its patient assistance program to “cover those with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, compared with 200 percent presently.” The company will also allow the patients to order the medicine “directly from the company.”

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Through an Internet search I found that the high wholesale cost for 1 ml of epinephrine is just under $1. In addition, auto injectors are not new gee-whiz technology. They’ve been extant for decades. The cost for an auto injector has to be very low. I would guess that the total manufacturing, packaging, and shipping cost to be under $10 per device. For Mylan, at the reduced selling price, that leaves $290 for overhead, executive salaries, Profit, etc., etc.

If tomorrow Mylan had two direct competitors, the price would immediately drop to reasonable levels. No, the Federal government should not get into the business of manufacturing pharmaceuticals. There are dozens of other US manufacturers who can do a far better job of it.

I would be interested to know what the barriers are that discourage other pharma companies from entering the self-injectable epinephrine market. Are these mostly Federal regulations?

    Paul in reply to LTMG. | August 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I wonder what the potential liability for every injector sold is? Every time the product is used, somebody is having a near-death event.

As most of us suspected, the federal government is behind the high price of epi-pens. Epinephrine is a generic drug, but Mylan had the patent on the delivery device. Several companies have approached the FDA with similar devices, but the FDA has turned them all down. From the Wall St. Journal: Anaphylactic Political Shock – Sorry, Hillary. The feds are to blame for Mylan’s EpiPen monopoly

Sorry but there IS a generic alternative to Epipen and it has been around for a bit. Called Adrenaclick –

http://www.consumerreports.org/drugs/how-to-get-cheaper-epipen-alternative/

And in more than a dozen states you can switch to Adrenaclick right at your pharmacy without going back to your doctor.

Some have wondered why Mylan “does not reduce the price across the board rather than introduce an identical generic.”

Because the higher-priced brand name is more profitable when a business or government is paying for it. Everyone knows that the higher cost would never be passed on to the consumer or taxpayer.

This company has close ties to the Democrat party. They are doing this to help push the “single payer” narrative as the ultimate solution. This is why nothing about this makes sense from a logical or business perspective. Haven’t the Dems and the GOPe been silent? The MSM delivers carefully scripted propaganda. It is more Democrat manipulation. Remember that the objectives are what matter. Real people with real problems are mere statistics to one with a vision.

Bitterlyclinging | August 29, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Seven dollars in 2007.
In 1974, when very few people were fortunate to have prescription drug insurance coverage, 100 Lanoxin(Brand name) digoxin .25 retailed for $.99. A month of Ovral oral contraceptives was $1.49. One hundred Keflex, brand name cephalexin, 500mg was $19.99.
All of that changed with the introduction of Tagamet which SKF brought onto the market at $29.99 for a 100 300 mg tablets. Soon, all of the drug manufacturers had raised the prices on their flagship products to match SKF’s block buster. Prices ratcheted up, industry wide a few years later, once more with the introduction of Cipro, which retailed for roughly a hundred dollars for 50 500mg tablets
The sales rep for Syntex in 1982 explained away his company’s price increase for their oral contraceptive line, then at $15.00/month wholesale, saying “Nobody pays for them anymore” He was right.
As predicted by the dismal science “When demand is inexhaustible, the price become infinite”

This is an interesting way to triple the price of a product and claim to be a hero for lowering it.

The cure for high prices is high prices. Make a competing product. The drug is cheap …

… Oh, yeah, except the regulatory barriers are difficult, expensive, and stifle competition.

Pharmaceuticals are one of the most regulated manufacturing sectors. You can be sued by or shutdown by the FDA for incomplete content disclaimers in tweets, not documenting properly how you test your software support systems, what you say to doctors, not tracking properly every lunch you buy docs and how much you spend, how you give away your product (yes, there are tons and tons of regulations on giving away free product … And millions spent on systems for properly tracking exactly how you give it away, to whom and what the implications are of giving it away on multiple unrelated regulations that govern it).

One of the things not being talked about is Manchin’s daughter doing the inversion to avoid federal taxes.
Dems have been screaming loudly about outlawing or repressively taxing the heck out of companies that do an inversion. Yet even though Mylan did so they still want the gov to help them fight a takeover bid from Teva. Not to mention Mylan tried a hostile takeover of Perrigo which I think is still going on.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-19/after-tax-inversion-mylan-seeks-uncle-sam-s-aid-in-teva-dispute

June 19, 2015 — 7:07 PM EDT

Mylan NV, which moved its corporate address overseas this year to lower its U.S. taxes, is now asking the American government for help fending off a hostile takeover.

So far, it’s not getting an answer.

The generic drugmaker relocated in February through a transaction known as an inversion, a maneuver that has drawn criticism in Washington for letting American companies cut their tax bills. Now incorporated in the Netherlands, Mylan is pushing U.S. antitrust officials to clarify whether Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. should have been allowed to buy a 4.61 percent stake in the company.

At issue is whether the Federal Trade Commission should consider Mylan a foreign or a U.S. issuer. Mylan argues it should pass the test of being treated like an American company under federal regulations because its principal offices are in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. If Mylan were treated as an American issuer, the deal would need to have been cleared by U.S. antitrust officials.

“We know the inversion has invoked a lot of emotional and political banter but the reality is we remain a U.S. issuer under all of the formal and informal guidelines,” Mylan Chief Executive Officer Heather Bresch said in an interview with Bloomberg. “What we’ve said is you can’t be arbitrary and capricious.”

Mylan is trying to fend off a $40.1 billion takeover offer from its Israeli rival, which has amassed a stake in Mylan to step up its pursuit. With that investment, Teva will be able to bring a case against Mylan in a Dutch court and will be able to vote against Mylan’s bid for smaller competitor Perrigo Co.
———————
Not that Mylan hasn’t tried the same thing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/25/business/dealbook/the-unintended-twist-of-tax-inversions.html?_r=0

This means that Perrigo can do little else but try to persuade its shareholders to reject the Mylan bid.

Today in the WSJ there is a tale of an EMT who took and Altoid tin can, a cheap syringe and a vial of epinephrine to make an emergency kit for his fellow EMT’s. It cost a total of $3.50. He got it approved by his supervisors and then taught everyone how to give a shot by using an orange. Now they all have these tidy little kits and the price is right. Epinephrine was discovered in 1901 and is about 10 cents a shot.

Insulin pens are similarly priced. Close to $90 a pen retail.

True story – Not long ago, there was a medication that cost $1100/month and the government was concerned about the cost, as it was a fairly common prescription that many health plans had to cover.

The Feds allowed a single competitor to introduce a generic version, and most health plans required customers to switch to the generic in order to save cost. It took the company more than two years and millions of dollars to introduce the generic, test it, and make it available.

And what was the price of the generic version? $1200/month.

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