Pharmaceutical giant CVS announced Thursday that it has partnered with Impax Laboratories to sell a generic epinephrine auto-injector for $109.99 for a two-packâ€”a dramatic cut from Mylanâ€™s Epipen two-pack prices, which list for more than $600 as a brand name and $300 as a generic.
The lower-cost auto-injector, a generic form of Adrenaclick, is available starting today nationwide in the companyâ€™s more than 9,600 pharmacies. Its price resembles that of EpiPenâ€™s before Mylan bought the rights to the life-saving devices back in 2007 and raised the price repeatedly, sparking outcry.
Helena Foulkes, President of CVS Pharmacy, said the company felt compelled to respond to the urgent need for a more affordable alternative. â€œOver the past year, nearly 150,000 people signed on to a petition asking for a lower-cost epinephrine auto-injector option and millions more were active in social media searching for a solution,â€ she said in a statement.
The price of $109.99 for the alternative applies to those with and without insurance, CVS noted. And Impax is also offering a coupon to reduce the cost to just $9.99 for qualifying patients.
Also in the press statement, Dr. Todd Listwa of Novant Health, a network of healthcare providers, noted the importance of access to epinephrine auto-injectors, which swiftly reverse rapid-onset, deadly allergic reactions in some. â€œFor these patients, having access to emergency epinephrine is a necessity. Making an affordable epinephrine auto-injector device accessible to patients will ensure patients have the medicine they need, when they need it.”
Last year, Mylan came under heavy fire from the public and lawmakers for the soaring cost of its devices, as well as allegedly cheating Medicaid out of millions and using anti-competitive practices to set up deals with school systems.
Mylan has claimed that most patients donâ€™t pay the list price, due to insurance coverage and manufacturer coupons. They blamed the price increases on the complexities of the healthcare system and middlemen, including pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), such as CVSâ€™ Caremark. In general, PBMs negotiate prices and rebates of drugs with manufacturers.
As USA Today pointed out, CVS potentially has a lot to gain from a partnership with Impax and currying favor with the public with the cheaper device. In recent financial documents, the company noted that it is under intense pressure from competition, including Walgreens and mail-order pharmacies. A better public image and a powerful partnership could provide CVS with more customers and bargaining power.
Meanwhile, backlash to Mylan’s price hikes continue. This week, Cigna, a top health insurance company, said that it will no longer cover Mylan’s brand name EpiPenâ€”it will only cover the generic, which was rolled out in December.
from Ars Technica http://ift.tt/2jIbjzb