The Justice Department has come down hard on Mylan for price gouging EpiPen. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports offers alternatives.
Global pharmaceutical company Mylan has reached a settlement of $465 million in a lawsuit accusing the drug company of price gouging the life-saving drug EpiPen and Epipen Jr. The settlement was reached after the initial lawsuit, filed in July 2016, in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, where Sanofi-Aventis accused Mylan of violating the False Claims Act and knowingly overcharging taxpayers.
The Justice Department released a statement in August, affirming that Mylan knowingly misclassified EpiPen as a generic drug, in order to avoid paying rebates to Medicaid. When the Pennsylvania based drug manufacturer Mylan first acquired EpiPen in 2007, the list price was $57. While in 2016, an EpiPen two-pack retailed for $600 without out insurance coverage.
“Taxpayers rightly expect companies like Mylan that receive payments from taxpayer-funded programs to scrupulously follow the rules,” said William D. Weinreb, Acting United States Attorney in a Justice Department release. “We will continue to protect the integrity of Medicaid and ensure a level playing field for pharmaceutical companies.”
Consumer Reports has recommended generic Adrenaclick as an EpiPen alternative, which can be found in various Pharmacies from $110 to $142 depending on location. The manufacturer also offers a coupon, lowing the cost to $60, while commercially insured patients may receive the drug at no cost. However, patients should be aware that its instructions are different than EpiPen, and it’s recommended to follow them carefully before use.
Additionally, Consumer Reports has warned patients about buying manual syringes and vials of epinephrine in order to cut costs, stating that doing so can result in getting too little, or too much epinephrine. While not ideal, Consumer Reports acknowledges it may be the only option for some, and advise patients to receive training from a doctor or pharmacist.
Other alternatives include Auvi-Q, which has recently reintroduced to the market earlier this year and offers the drug at no cost to qualifying patients. There may also be another alternative on the market by the end of the year, Symjepi — an epinephrine similar to EpiPen, was approved by the FDA this past June. However, the manufacturer has yet to list a price, only stating that it will be a lower cost alternative.