Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd introduced a generic version of the EpiPen, which immediately made waves. With an EpiPen and EpiPen junior available for sale, Mylan NV is facing competition for the first time in nearly two decades. With no competition in the marketplace, Mylan did make attempts to thwart Teva’s EpiPen. In 2016, the FDA rejected Teva’s EpiPen on the basis that the design was different and might confuse users.
This is the first time that there is a serious competitor for the EpiPen after it was crafted almost two decades ago. In the past, there have been competitors such as Adernaclick by Impax Laboratories LLC and Auvi Q by Kaelo Inc but neither is generic nor do they have the same name recognition as the EpiPen does. In a growing bid to reduce drug prices, FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb has also pledged to create new channels through more competitors can be introduced to the marketplace.
No Competition in the Past
In the past, big pharma companies were coming under fire because of their price hiking practices without giving any discernable reason to do so. In 2007, Mylan created an uproar when they acquired the rights for the sale of EpiPens. While they were previously priced at $57 per shot, Mylan hiked up the price to $600 for two packs of them. For many people, the price hike put this life-saving anti-allergy medication out of budget.
Considering the fact that EpiPens are used for a wide array of allergies, including food allergies, bug allergies and more, the cost was rather steep. After severe criticism, Mylan relented and introduced a generic two-pack version priced at $300. While it was lower in cost than the EpiPen, it was still priced at double the cost. With the high prices, on an annual basis, Mylan generates around $1 billion from sales of their EpiPens alone.
High Prices, Low Supply
The EpiPens also raised an outcry recently in May 2018. Around 400 people, all across the US, faced difficulties in getting their prescriptions filled for the EpiPen. By the 9thof May, the Food Drug Administration – FDA announced that there was a shortage of this product and placed it on their list of medications that are facing a shortage. Consumers expressed alarm because the shortage came just before pollen season when bees, hornets, and wasps are a major threat.
People who are allergic to their venom can experience symptoms that quickly become dangerous. Immediate hospitalization is necessary if an EpiPen is not available. For many, these scenarios can be life-threatening. With the introduction of Teva’s EpiPens, it is also speculated that demand problems can be simplified with ease.
A Positive Response
Luckily, response to the new EpiPens has been positive so far. Teva’s depository receipts for America also received a boost, going up by 7.1% and rising up to $24.06. On the other hand, Mylan’s fell by 0.4% and came down to $37.68.
It is speculated that following Teva’s example, other drugs, and medication will soon start to face serious competition. This will also help to shake the industry hold that many pharma companies have and lower the prices for the consumers in the process too.