Monday, June 24, 2013

Generic Epinephrine Auto-injector Available

Mylan, the makers of the EpiPen have now released a generic version of their device.
The Auvi-Q has returned in ownership to its original inventors and their company, kaléo. 
An updated post will be published.
As I wrote in my Adrenaclick Re-Launch post, I suspected that this re-launch might have something to do with the rumored generic epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) that we have been hearing about for a long while, now.  Sure enough, we found out that a generic is now to be made available.  Technically, it's the generic substitute for the Adrenaclick, but as you can read in my previous post, you should make sure your state/insurance company does not allow pharmacies to substitute the generic for other brands.

I called my local Walgreens to get some additional information.  I asked the pharmacy technician about the generic option and she had the pricing information (which they did not have at CVS or Wal-Mart), but no "notice of delivery" information has been provided.  She said that the state of Texas allows the substitution of generics if a brand name's patent period has expired.  She said she believed that the patent period for the Auvi-Q might be 7 years, but it could be as long as 14 years.  In either case, they would not substitute the generic for Auvi-Q.  That's good news to me!  (I will still be keeping an eye on it, though.)  She said the possibility of substitution was more likely with the EpiPen, since it has been around for a long time and its patent period has probably expired.  However, she currently did not see the generic epinephrine listed as "AB rated", so it was not eligible for substitution, just yet.

I also requested pricing information on the various EAIs:

Auto-injector Name Price 0.15 mg "Jr" Price 0.3 mg "Adult"
Auvi-Q $294.99 $294.99
EpiPen $361.99* $282.62
Adrenaclick $260.99 $260.99
epinephrine Injection, USP, auto-injector (generic) $231.99* $136.99
Current offers available, not reflected in prices shown:
Sanofi/Auvi-Q: $0 out-of-pocket offer (up to $100 off co-pay or cash price.)
Mylan/EpiPen: $0 co-pay offer (up to $100 maximum benefit.)

*I asked the pharmacy technician why the 0.15 mg dosages were more expensive.  She said that the formulation was newer and they were still recovering  R&D costs on it. (?)  I asked her why CVS' prices were the same (albeit higher) for both strengths, and she said it's probably because they purchase from a different vendor, who has made a different pricing decision.  The pricing of medications is messy stuff.  I'll have to check back with the other pharmacy chains when their pricing information is available.  All of this is further complicated by the details of individual insurance plans, wholesale agreements, etc.

So, I now see what purpose the Adrenaclick serves in the marketplace.  It provides a low-cost option.  It looks like it will be roughly half the price of the brand name EAI options, at least on the surface.  The price disparity will be smaller, once you take discounts (which are temporary in nature) into consideration, but I believe this is its primary purpose.  (I have a feeling other pharmacies will have the generic 0.15 mg dosage for a similar price to that shown at Walgreens for the 0.3 mg dosage.  Walgreens has a $20 prescription savings program that's good for a year and provides savings on most prescriptions.)

For more information about the EAIs that will be available, check out this post by Angela Nace, PharmD on Kids with Food Allergies:

1 comment:

  1. I just came across this post which is now about 3 years old. Since then Auvi-Q has been recalled and the price of Epi-pens is now $600+ for a 2-pack. We now drop $1200 a year on them for my 8-year old son. What a scam. I work in the health insurance industry and recently attended a seminar where a pharmacist said that the cost of the actual epinephrine is about $1 per pen. The 'technology' of the auto-injector is over 25 years old. I repeat - what a friggin scam. I beg someone to come out with a better/cheaper delivery system.