Generic drug­maker to sell al­ter­na­tive to EpiPen in­jec­tors

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OBITUARIES - By 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. Brand­name 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 $250 for two, without in­sur­ance.

Two generic ver­sions of EpiPen are sold in the U.S. for $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 $94 to $608 for a pair of brand-name EpiPens.

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

My­lan’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.

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