The FDA has promised a "lower cost option" to EpiPen, but the price is not inferior

File this under "When is not a business really a bargain?"

Three months ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved a generic version of the anti-allergy device EpiPen and pointed out that the new product from Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) would offer a "lower cost option". But Teva does not offer The type of alternative envisioned by the agency: its $ 300 catalog price is identical to that charged by Mylan (MYL) for its so-called generic EpiPen allowed.

Prices seem to underestimate the idea advocated by FDA officials, that the approval of a larger number of generics can help alleviate the pressure that weigh on the portfolio of many. Americans on the cost of their drugs. In announcing its approval last August, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb pointed out that such initiatives were part of a "global effort to remove barriers" to drug access ". Of crucial importance ".


He cited the Teva product as an example, as the pricing of EpiPen was so controversial two years ago. At the time, Mylan had become the price defender after nearly a decade of ongoing price increases that brought the cost to $ 608 for a two-pack. The costs outraged families at the start of the school year that year and sparked other Congressional investigations into pharmaceutical prices.

A spokeswoman for Teva declined to discuss prices. We have also asked the FDA to comment and we will keep you informed accordingly.

For its part, Mylan has tried to avoid blame by citing the remedies that drug makers claim have to pay pharmacy compensation managers to get a favorable position on the forms, the list of drugs benefiting from. an insurance cover. But the company also later began selling a licensed generic version – which is essentially the same product – for $ 300.

During this time, two things happened. As we noted, the FDA has sought to appease the public by focusing on the approval of generic versions. But Mylan then stumbled because of product shortages caused by the company that manufactures the device. The company, which belongs to Pfizer, was cited by the FDA a year ago for its quality control collapse and Mylan struggled to replenish.

Of course, consumers can pay well under $ 300. In fact, according to GoodRx, several large retailers sell EpiPen at a price of 150 USD for a coupon. According to Linda Cahn, a consultant who advises health care plans and employers on pharmaceutical compensation contracts, the price and supply chain of opaque pharmaceuticals may well lower the price of the Teva product.

"If you look at the list prices of most generic drugs, they are actually different from the actual selling price. We do not yet know what the consumer could pay before seeing the price charged by the company to wholesalers and the surcharges taken. I think Teva wants to gain market share. Therefore, matching the price does not make sense if it is not logical, because, for the moment, they can take advantage of shortages. "

She pointed out that last fall's drug allowance managers were asking health plans to allow alternatives to EpiPen in light of current shortages.

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