EpiPen al­ter­na­tives in works

Drug­maker San­doz to sell generic in­jec­tors in U.S. start­ing in early 2019

The Beacon Herald - - LIFE - LINDA A. JOHNSON

TREN­TON, N.J. — Generic drug­maker San­doz an­nounced plans Thurs­day to start sell­ing an al­ter­na­tive to the EpiPen in the U.S. early next year. The EpiPen in­jec­tor is used to halt life-threat­en­ing al­ler­gic re­ac­tions to in­sect bites, nuts and other foods. Brand-name EpiPen, which dom­i­nates the mar­ket, has been in short sup­ply since spring be­cause of pro­duc­tion problems.

San­doz will sell pre­filled sy­ringes with the same medicine, the hor­mone ep­i­neph­rine, un­der the name Sym­jepi. The price will be US$250 for two, with­out in­sur­ance.

Two generic ver­sions of EpiPen are sold in Amer­ica for US$300 a pair, in­clud­ing one from EpiPen seller My­lan. The com­pany started sell­ing its own generic af­ter it was blasted for re­peated hikes that pushed up its list price from US$94 to US$608 for a pair of brand-name EpiPens.

What peo­ple pay varies, though, de­pend­ing on in­sur­ance, dis­counts and the phar­macy.

Be­cause of Canada’s uni­ver­sal health care sys­tem, cost for in­di­vid­u­als is much less of a prob­lem for Cana­di­ans, though fed­eral agency Health Canada has also warned of pos­si­ble sup­ply short­ages since Pfizer Canada has been af­fected by the same pro­duc­tion problems. It’s not yet known whether the al­ter­na­tive prod­ucts would be made avail­able in Canada.

My la n’ s in­jec­tors are made by a sub­sidiary of Pfizer, which is up­grad­ing fac­to­ries to fix qual­ity problems. That re­sulted in pro­duc­tion slow­downs. Pfizer said Thurs­day it’s ship­ping some in­jec­tors and ex­pects to ship more in the com­ing months.

The short­ages trig­gered tem­po­rary short­ages of other sim­i­lar prod­ucts, in­clud­ing Auvi-Q. As a re­sult, U.S. reg­u­la­tors let some man­u­fac­tur­ers ex­tend ex­pi­ra­tion dates. This past Au­gust, Health Minister Ginette Petit­pas Taylor said she signed an in­terim or­der to al­low the Auvi-Q ep­i­neph­rine auto-in­jec­tors to be im­ported into Canada, but that was only ef­fec­tive for two weeks while ap­proval is sought to ex­tend the or­der for up to one year.

San­doz, part of No­var­tis AG., will sell sy­ringes with an adult dose made by Adamis Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals Corp. A chil­dren’s ver­sion will fol­low.

Is­rael’s Teva Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal In­dus­tries be­gan sell­ing lim­ited quan­ti­ties of its new generic EpiPen in the U.S. last week.

SAN­DOZ INC/AP

A new ep­i­neph­rine in­jec­tor by San­doz, Inc.

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