More competition for EpiPen

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Another EpiPen competitor entered the market last week. Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced the availability in most retail pharmacies of its FDA-approved generic version of EpiPen Jr.

Mylan’s brand name EpiPen and the various generic versions come in two dosages: .3 mg for people weighing 66 or more pounds, and the .15 mg “junior” version for those weighing 33 to 66 pounds.

Teva, which has a U.S. base in New Jersey, already had a .3 mg generic epinephrine auto injector (EIA, the general name for the various injectors) on the market.

Brendan O’Grady, executive vice president and head of Teva’s North America Commercial, said in Teva’s announcement: “We’re pleased to provide access to epinephrine injection in two strengths for patients who may experience life-threatening allergic emergencies. 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.”

O’Grady’s comment about the urgent need refers to an EpiPen supply shortage Mylan is experiencing. Meridian Medical Technologies, a Pfizer subsidiary, manufactures the EpiPen for Mylan. But the EpiPen has been in short supply and Mylan said in a June release that Meridian “continues to experience manufacturing challenges” in production of the EpiPen and its authorized generic version. (There has been talk that Mylan may acquire Meridian as part of its merger with Upjohn, another Pfizer subsidiary.)

Teva’s Wholesale Acquisition Cost for a two-pack of its junior EIA is $300. This is the price it sets for wholesalers and doesn’t reflect the cost to pharmacy benefit managers, insurers, pharmacy chains or individual pharmacies, or consumers. “Teva does not set the price that a pharmacy charges for a particular drug and does not have visibility or control into the price of the drug in the marketplace,” it said in its announcement.

While the EpiPen and EpiPen Jr are made by Meridian, Teva’s generic equivalents use the Antares Pharma VIBEX device. Antares and Teva have an exclusive license, development and supply agreement for Teva’s U.S. EIA.

Several other EIAs are also on the market. Mylan markets its own authorized generic version of the EpiPen. Impax markets the authorized generic version of its Adrenaclick, which is no longer on the market.  You can only get the Impax generic.

The Mylan, Teva and Impax EIAs are all tube shaped and come in two strengths.

Kaléo markets the Auvi-Q, which is about the width and length of a credit card and as thick as a cell phone. It also comes in two strengths.

Sandoz sells the Symjepi. Symjepi is not an EIA but a pre-filled syringe. It also comes in both strengths.

The state of West Virginia, through the office of state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, filed a civil lawsuit back on Friday against Teva in connection with the opioid epidemic. The suit focuses on Teva’s cancer painkiller Actiq. The suit alleges representatives of the company also shopped the opioid to to non-oncologists and pain clinic doctors

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