Mylan will offer generic version of EpiPen at half the price

Phillip Bradshaw  Creative Commons

But say Mylan doesn’t have to deal with some of those middlemen who make money along the way, and can just distribute the drug to pharmacies – something that generic versions have an easier time doing. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, wrote in a Twitter post Monday.

The price of a lifesaving EpiPen has skyrocketed, and that’s putting people with severe allergic reactions at risk. Since most users need several – one for home, and one for school or work, for example – the costs can mount up.

Thank goodness for competition, the epicenter of the recent EpiPen controversy. News of a $300 generic version could help get Congress off the company’s back.

But on Monday, after US Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton ended the previous week saying she would consider a price enquiry into the drugs industry, the company tried to make amends.

Another issue the senators are concerned about is whether Mylan will extend its patient assistance programs to include the authorized generic versions as well, or if not, how the company plans to ensure patient access to the generic.

The price for a two-pack of life-saving EpiPens has risen from about $94 to about $608 over eight years. “You would have thought they would had learned after Turing”, said Emanuel, referring to Turing Pharmaceuticals and the decision of its onetime CEO Martin Shkreli to raise the price of Daraprim, an antiparastic used by HIV patients, by more than 5,000 percent.

Joshua Sharfstein, a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, called it a face-saving move by the company.

Lawmakers say they still want to see that price go down. It clearly shows how much pressure Mylan was under.

Mylan will continue to sell EpiPen and continue to offer a $300 discount to certain families that qualify for assistance based on their income levels.

But that $300 is still a huge price hike over the $57 a shot the medicine cost in 2007, when Mylan bought the rights to the drug. After insurance, I pay $10 for a two-pack of injectors. For instance, customers of Express Scripts Holding Co., the nation’s largest prescription benefits manager, pay $73.50 on average, a price the company has kept fairly stable for a couple years.