Generic Version of Epipens Coming, Public Citizens says “too little, too late”

“But if you want to take this with you it’s going to cost you $600 right now,” says Pharmacist Jacque Cole.

She is showing me several boxes of Epipens.  The cost of the drug has come under fire recently amid comments about the drug company Mylan’s CEO making millions.

An Epipen is pre-loaded with a drug called Epinephrine Cole says now there’s word that Mylan will be making a generic version which will cost $300.  She says there’s no word yet on when that lower cost version will be available.

Meanwhile, she says there is another drug called Adrenaclick that currently has a generic version for $399, so cheaper for now compared to the current $600 for Epipens, but somewhat higher than the expected generic of Epipens which will go to $300.

Cole says if you want that cheaper generic version now you “need a prescription from your doctor because the injection method is different from an Epipen.”

She suggests finding out first if your insurance company will cover the Adrenaclick generic. “If it will I would ask the doctor to write that, but if it won’t, then you’ll need to go with the Epipen,” she told me.

“Of course the issue is for the patient that falls in the gap that doesn’t have insurance, that’s the patient that’s really going to get stuck,” Cole told me.

Meanwhile, the watchdog group Public Citizen says a generic version for $300 won’t win Mylan any new friends.  “It’s wrong to think of it as a 50 percent price decrease really because Mylan’s setting the prices in the first place,” says Peter Maybarduk from Public Citizen.  “I mean the price has increased 600 percent since 2007 and there’s been no
no innovation or significant improvements to the product.”

“What we’re talking about is a situation where Mylan is price gouging us, charging us whatever we will pay which is actually the standard for pharmaceutical companies in the American marketplace. We don’t negotiate we give drug companies monopoly powers,” he told me.

Cole says ironically, the same Epipens that currently sell for $600 here sell for “about $120 in Canada.”

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