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Epinephrine: What’s the Status?

Welcome back to the Corner! In this edition of Ron’s Clinical Corner, we take a look at what is going on in the industry surrounding epinephrine products used for anaphylactic reactions.

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Epinephrine auto-injectors currently include Auvi-Q®, EpiPen®/EpiPen Jr.®, and a few other non-specifically labeled epinephrine products. Over the past few years, some or all of these products have been in short supply. While causing a crisis amongst those who need epinephrine, this supply shortage has also increased the pricing on those products not in short supply.

In late 2016, Mylan Pharmaceuticals launched authorized generic products to their own EpiPen®/EpiPen Jr.® to offer a lower-cost option.  Since that time, there have been recalls and backorders which have strained the supply chain, and once again, limited patient and health plan access to affordable options.

Recently, Teva Pharmaceuticals has received approval to market a generic option of EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr.®. Although the supply of these generics is not at full capacity, this should provide a lower cost option to some of the currently available products.  Estimates show the Teva product will be about $300 for a 2-pack, which is less expensive than other options that are currently available. There is also another product in the pipeline, Symjepi®, which may come to market at a lower cost, but has the disadvantage of being a prefilled syringe and not an auto-injector.

The approval of this new generic, along with the pipeline for some additional product(s) is encouraging to help stabilize a therapeutic class that has experienced some tough times. Time will tell, but let’s hope suppliers are able to offer cost-effective medications to those who need them.

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