From The Washington Post:
EpiPen maker Mylan announced Monday morning that it would introduce a generic version of the lifesaving allergy injection at half the price of the brand-name product, after politicians blasted the company for a drug coupon program seen as a public relations Band-Aid.
The generic, which the company said will be launched “in several weeks,” will carry a list price of $300 for a two-pack carton. That is half the list price for the branded product, which costs $608 for a two-pack, but it is still nearly $40 more than the price three years ago, according to data from Truven Health Analytics.
“We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of EpiPen to the patient, and have always shared the public’s desire to ensure that this important product be accessible to anyone who needs it,” Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch said in a statement. “Our decision to launch a generic alternative to EpiPen is an extraordinary commercial response.”
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. The generic offers a way of dropping the price of one version of the drug, while also bringing the company some benefits. It will allow Mylan to segment the market, because some people will continue to buy the brand-name product.
Sharfstein said one important question will be whether the price stays the same over time.
The introduction of Mylan’s generic also won’t automatically open the window to true competition from other generic companies, according to Michael Carrier, a professor at Rutgers Law School. Companies can introduce generics of their brand-name drugs, called “authorized generics,” but the effect on competition is ambiguous, he said.
“We have more competition than we did yesterday, but on the other hand, we don’t have wide-open …