EpiPen to launch generic version for $300, after outrage

Posted at 10:16 AM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-29 10:19:23-04

NEW YORK — Responding to national outrage over high prices, Mylan announced plans on Monday to launch a generic EpiPen at a 50% discount to the branded version of the life saving allergy treatment.

Mylan said the generic EpiPen will be “identical” to the branded product in terms of how the drug is made and how the auto-injector functions.

The surprise move is the latest attempt by Mylan to silence the uproar ignited by a more than 400% increase in EpiPen prices. The launch comes ahead of looming competition from Teva Pharmaceuticals, which is hoping to launch a generic EpiPen of its own as early as next year, pending FDA approval.

Mylan said it plans to launch the generic version in “several weeks” at a cost of $300 per two-pack carton, compared with $608 for the branded EpiPen.

Mylan didn’t specify what discounts — if any — it is offering on this $300 generic price. It’s also not clear why consumers would buy the more expensive branded EpiPen if, as Mylan describes it, it’s exactly the same as the generic.

The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under pressure from angry parents and politicians last week, Mylan said it will provide instant savings cards worth $300 to patients who have to pay the full price for the drug out of pocket.

“We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of EpiPen to the patient,” Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said in a statement on Monday.

Like last week, Bresch again attempted to shift the blame away from the company and towards a health care system she has called “broken.”

The “complexity and opaqueness of today’s branded pharmaceutical supply chain” led Mylan to determine that “bypassing the brand system” was the “best option,” Bresch said.

No matter who’s to blame, Wall Street investors seem to like the latest move by Mylan. The company’s stock rose 2% ahead of Monday’s opening bell, continuing a rebound from the selloff triggered by the pricing controversy.