EpiPen Competitor Auvi-Q Back In The Market By February
It was announced Thursday that Auvi-Q epinephrine will return to market on Feb. 14. Kaleo, the manufacturer of the auto-injector said the price for two injectors is $4,500.
Epinephrine injectors are commonly used for life-threating allergic reactions, especially in the case of children.
The Auvi-Q Affordability program guarantees free products to U.S. patients without insurance and whose household income is less than $100,000. For those with commercial insurance, the product is available with no extra cost and should be part of the coverage.
WTOP reported that Auvi-Q was previously pulled out from the market due to a manufacturing issue in 2015. The difference now is that they have added a new feature to the product, which is a talking auto-injector that has a prerecorded voice prompt that can teach people on how to use it.
"Fortunately many health-care plans out there see the benefit of having choice for patients. The reason the list price is high is it's the only way we can make sure patients have access and can get it for $0," said Spencer Williamson, Kaleo Chief Executive according to CNBC.
Some analysts believe the reason for the high price is to make insurers cross-subsidize others because of the high cost.
The list price for Auvi-Q is higher than EpiPen, its main competitor. EpiPen costs $608 for two injectors. This price hit hard as it spiked 26 percent since August and 400 percent over the decade.
Auvi-Q has a cash price of $360 for two injectors. The difference has caused analysts to argue about the complicated pricing system of the drugs.
"It's extremely confusing that you have this multi-thousand dollar list price and then you have a cash price that's so much lower," said David Maris, Wells Fargo analyst according to CNBC.
Maris added "A lot of companies want to point to the idea that no one pays retail; it's like diamonds - 'Suckers pay retail' - Well, someone's paying something that they shouldn't be paying."