A Super Cheap Competitor to EpiPen Was Just Released — but Is That Enough?

(ANTIMEDIA) EpiPen, the life-saving device designed to deliver doses of epinephrine during allergic reactions, has become a controversial piece of equipment — not because of its efficacy or importance, but because of its cost.

In mid-2016, news outlets focused their attention on the device due to its increasing cost. At that time, the cost of a single EpiPen had gone from $57 to $318. This amounted to a 461 percent increase from 2007 to 2016.

The increase was so absurd that a group of people felt compelled to start a petition urging Congress to “stop the EpiPen price gouging.” Unfortunately, Congress, and the entire Washington D.C. power structure as a whole, have no place to run at this point considering they are partially to blame for this scandal.

Instead of waiting on a move from Congress, another company decided to take matters into their own hands.

CVS Health, an American retail pharmacy and health care company with branches all over the country, decided to launch its own version of the epinephrine injectors. Hoping to compete with Mylan, the manufacturer of the EpiPen, the company will be able to produce a generic version of the injector that will cost $109.99 for a two-pack.

So far, CVS Health reported in its press release, the only authorized generic version of the product costs the patient $339.99 for a dual-pack while name brand EpiPen’s dual-pack often goes for $600.

To Helena Foulkes, the president of CVS Pharmacy, this move is a direct response to the “urgent need in the marketplace for a less expensive epinephrine auto-injector for patients with life-threatening allergies.”

As a health care company focused on helping people on their path to better health,” Foulkes said, “we have partnered with Impax to purchase their epinephrine auto-injector at a price that is lower than similar brand or authorized generic epinephrine auto-injectors.” The product, she continued, will be “available at all CVS Pharmacy locations at the lowest cash price in the market.”

This EpiPen Competition is the Driving Force Behind Market Fairness

In August of 2016, Anti-Media reported that the EpiPen scandal had a great deal to do with Mylan’s close relationship with Washington. But we also explained how regulations helped Mylan become a monopoly, allowing the company to hike prices unilaterally instead of simply respecting the laws of economics regarding supply and demand.

In the same piece, we outlined the reasons why competition could help patients in need who simply cannot afford $600 double packs of EpiPens:

The current environment favors this influence game played by both government officials and corporate drones, but ultimately, the consumer pays the price for their follies.”

While it’s possible that the pressure the company and Washington faced over the EpiPen price scandal helped others in the industry, who also retain a great deal of influence in Washington, to produce a competing product, this move alone is not enough.

By removing the restraints to the industry, a greater number of smaller, consumer-driven organizations will be able to compete with major companies like Mylan, driving the prices of similar products so low that low-income consumers won’t require government subsidies or insurance help to cover the costs.

What we need now is a massive campaign to pressure Washington D.C. to allow smaller, less established organizations to develop better and more affordable products — not urge bureaucrats to increase restrictions even further.

This article (A Super Cheap Competitor to EpiPen Was Just Released — but Is That Enough?) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alice Salles and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. Image credit: Intropin. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to edits@theantimedia.org.

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