EpiPen Manufacturer to Launch Generic Version at Half Cost

The company has experienced heavy criticism over the past week due to high price of EpiPen

EpiPen Manufacturer to Launch Generic Version at Half Cost
Image: Pixabay
August 29, 2016

Mylan, the embattled manufacturer of emergency allergy shot EpiPen, is planning to launch the first generic version of the device at half price.

This is the second step the company has taken in less than a week to appease political scrutiny and consumer outrage over drastic price increases the company has implemented for the EpiPen over the past nine years. Last week the company committed to the issuing of savings cards worth up to $300 to patients whose insurance plans require high out-of-pocket payments; the doubling of eligibility for its patient assistance program; and to the opening of a "pathway" to enable patients to purchase the device directly from Mylan.

However, the company did not reduce the actual $600 list price of the EpiPen, prompting skepticism and further criticism from lawmakers and consumers.

Reuters reports that the company expects to launch the generic "in several weeks" for $300. The news outlet considers the move "highly unusual" given that the EpiPen still falls under patent protection and that rival treatments have either been recalled or unable to obtain clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Heather Bresch, daughter of a senator and chief executive officer at Mylan, called the decision "an extraordinary commercial response" to the criticism the company has received.

"We determined that bypassing the brand system in this case and offering an additional alternative was the best option," she stated.

Bresch herself has fallen under heavy criticism since taking over the company. In 2008 it was discovered that administrators at West Virginia University had falsified Bresch's transcripts to award her a master's degree that she had not earned. Several university administrators lost their jobs in the ensuing scandal, but Bresch was unaffected. Her salary increased by 660% between 2007 and 2015, mirroring the 400% increase in the price of the EpiPen, and earlier this month she earned an additional $5 million after selling more than 100,000 of her shares in the company.

Mylan plans to continue offering the branded EpiPen product as well as the new generic.