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Cheaper EpiPen Alternative Gets OK From FDA

Update Date: Jun 19, 2017 07:58 AM EDT

A new alternative for the EpiPen has recently been approved by the FDA. The emergency allergy medicine, which has made Mylan dominate the market, now has a cheaper competitor.

What Is The New Allergy Shot Medicine In Town?

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday (June 15) approved Adamis (ad-DEHM-iss) Pharmaceuticals Corp.'s product, which is anticipated to be available later this year.  Symjepi (sim-JEPP'-ee) is a syringe prefilled with the hormone epinephrine. It interrupts life-threatening allergic reactions from foods like nuts and eggs, as well as insect stings and bites (via The Seattle Times). 

San Diego-based Adamis said its product is more convenient to use compared to Mylan's EpiPen, which is an autoinjector that comes with a training device. Also, Symjepi is smaller and to be carried around.

Low Cost Alternative To Mylan's Product 

Adamis spokesman Mark Flather said that Symjepi is meant to be a "low-cost alternative" to EpiPen and similar products. The company is aiming to market it for less than generic EpiPens. 

As of recent, EpiPens cost about $630 to $700 - without insurance, while the new generic version sells for about $225 to $425. Mylan launched generic EpiPens last Dec. in an effort to avert increasing disapproval from the public.

Last summer, the company was slammed for hiking the price of EpiPens, which led to CEO Heather Bresch being grilled by a Congressional panel. Mylan pulled up the price of a pair of EpiPens from $94 in 2007, when the company acquired the product, to $608 last year. 

Popularity Contest Vs Price?

According to EMS 1, analysts and others have estimated that it costs less than $20 to produce a pair of EpiPens. While EpiPen has other contender drugs, doctors are likely to recommend the EpiPen because of its popularity,

Three years ago back, EpiPens count for nearly 90 percent of both revenue and prescriptions filled in the U.S. for epinephrine injectors and syringes, according to QuintilesIMS, a pharmaceutical analytics company.

In the first quarter of this year, brand-name EpiPens only drew about 60 percent of epinephrine device prescriptions, while generic EpiPens - mostly Mylan's - had captured 38 percent of prescriptions.

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