Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, an Isreali drug maker, has announced that a generic version of EpiPen for kids is now available in pharmacies at $300 for a two-pack of the life-saving treatment.
The EpiPen is used to deliver a dose of epinephrine for people who are experiencing a life-threatening allergic reaction. According to the company, the generic version of Mylan’s EpiPen Jr comes in two doses: 0.15 mg for children who weigh between 33 and 66 pounds, and 0.3 mg for kids who weigh 66 pounds or more. The company last year launched the generic version of the higher-dose EpiPen, which was also priced at $300.
”We’re pleased to provide access to Epinephrine Injection (Auto-Injector) in two strengths for patients who may experience life-threatening allergic emergencies,” Teva’s Brendan O’Grady, EVP, and Head of North America Commercial said in a statement. “We will continue working to ensure availability of both strengths in the US and plan to accelerate production to meet the urgent need for this medicine.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year approved the generic versions of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr after years of price-gouging by Mylan, which in 2007 acquired the product—originally priced at $57—and was charging an eye-popping $600 for a two-pack of the epinephrine auto-injector devices by 2016.
Following the FDA’s approval of a generic version of the treatment, former Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement at the time that the decision meant “patients living with severe allergies who require constant access to life-saving epinephrine should have a lower-cost option.”
The approval also came amid an ongoing shortage of EpiPen treatments due to complications experienced by Mylan’s supplier Pfizer. Grappling with the issue at the start of the school year last year, Mylan convinced the FDA to extend the expiration dates on some of its EpiPen devices by four months after the company was able to show that the treatments would still be stable and effective.
In another bit of EpiPen news, Illinois last week passed legislation—which will go into effect on Jan. 1—requiring insurance companies cover the costs of epinephrine injectors for individuals 18 years old or younger.
“With steady increases in food allergies and other serious allergic conditions, families are relying on EpiPens more than ever before,” State Senator Julie Morrison said of the move. “We should be doing everything we can to expand access to affordable lifesaving drugs and medicines. No child with a serious allergy should be without an epinephrine injector because they cannot afford one.”