EpiPen alternatives in works
Drugmaker Sandoz to sell generic injectors in U.S. starting in early 2019
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.
A new epinephrine injector by Sandoz, Inc.