CVS sell­ing generic com­peti­tor to EpiPen

De­vice is one-sixth the price of My­lan prod­uct

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Tom Mur­phy AP Health Writer

CVS is now sell­ing a ri­val, generic ver­sion of My­lan’s EpiPen at about a sixth of its price, just months af­ter the maker of the life-sav­ing al­lergy treat­ment was evis­cer­ated be­fore Congress be­cause of its soar­ing cost to con­sumers.

The drug­store chain says it will charge $109.99 for a twopack of the au­tho­rized generic ver­sion of Adrenaclick, a lesser­known treat­ment com­pared to EpiPen, which can cost more than $600.

CVS Health Corp., the na­tion’s sec­ond-largest drug­store chain, says it cut the price it charges for the generic ver­sion of Adrenaclick nearly in half. The lower price is now avail­able at all CVS stores. The chain runs about 9,600 re­tail phar­ma­cies in the United States, in­clud­ing sev­eral lo­ca­tions inside Tar­get stores.

These treat­ments are stocked by schools and par­ents of chil­dren with se­vere al­ler­gies. They are used in emer­gen­cies to stop ana­phy­laxis, the po­ten­tially fatal al­ler­gic reactions to in­sect bites and stings and foods like nuts and eggs.

The sy­ringes are filled with the hor­mone ep­i­neph­rine, and they ex­pire af­ter a year. That of­ten forces pa­tients to fill new pre­scrip­tions even if they never used the old one.

My­lan NV started tak­ing heat late last sum­mer for its EpiPen pric­ing, which has climbed more than 500 per­cent since 2007. A Con­gres­sional panel grilled CEO Heather Bresch in Septem­ber about the soar­ing cost, which she has blamed in part on in­sur­ers, phar­macy ben­e­fits man­agers and other mid­dle­men that stand be­tween the drug­maker and the cus­tomer.

Bresch is one of sev­eral phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ex­ec­u­tives who have been called to Congress, where both Repub­li­cans and Democrats have de­manded ex­pla­na­tions for spi­ral­ing drug prices, which can plunge pa­tients into debt or force them to skip pre­scrip­tions.

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump said Wed­nes­day dur­ing a press con­fer­ence that he wants to cre­ate new bid­ding pro­ce­dures on

drugs to save money.

Shares of most drug­mak­ers sank al­most im­me­di­ately and are still un­der pres­sure to­day, though the de­cline in My­lan’s stock out­paced most. Shares fell al­most 2 per­cent in early trad­ing af­ter the CVS an­nounce­ment.

In the af­ter­math of the un­wanted at­ten­tion, My­lan has ex­panded the fi­nan­cial aid it of­fers cus­tomers and

launched its own au­tho­rized generic in De­cem­ber, priced at around $300 per two-pack.

But pa­tients with no health in­sur­ance or plans that make them pay a high de­ductible be­fore cov­er­ing care are ex­posed to the full price of the drug if they aren’t aware of that as­sis­tance or if they don’t seek it.

CVS says the new price it is charg­ing for the Adrenaclick generic ap­plies to both in­sured pa­tients and those who pay cash with­out cov­er­age. It’s what cus­tomers will pay at the phar­macy counter.

Pre­scrip­tion drug prices vary widely, due to ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween phar­ma­cies, drug­mak­ers and phar­macy ben­e­fit man­agers. The new price that CVS an­nounced Thurs­day is lower, in some cases by more than $100, than other prices listed on web­sites like GoodRx that com­pare re­tail­ers.

The maker of Adrenaclick, Im­pax Lab­o­ra­to­ries, also of­fers a coupon pro­gram for its generic ver­sion that can pro­vide ad­di­tional price breaks, if a pa­tient qual­i­fies.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

CVS is now sell­ing a ri­val generic ver­sion of My­lan’s EpiPen at about a sixth of its price.

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