The Cost of Epipen—When Will the New Generic Make a Dent?

By Henry Ehrlich
Two weeks we greeted FDA approval of Teva’s competitor to EpiPen with two cheers, or perhaps the sound of 1 hand clapping. Would it not be sufficiently aggressive to drive down the associated fee. New copycat medicine are typically priced within the ballpark of the previous, and if the worth is already outrageous, it might not really feel like a lot of a boon to the beleaguered affected person.
Now, the good medical web site STAT has come ahead with evaluation that places my very own armchair economics within the shade entitled, “Does a generic Epipen mean lower prices? Don’t hold your breath.” It was written by Jonathan D. Alpern, M.D., assistant professor of medication on the College of Minnesota and his colleague William M. Stauffer, M.D., professor of medication.
Among the many findings: A minimum of two producers are vital for vital price financial savings, with every new entry ensuing incremental value. One other research discovered that substantial value drops require as much as three generic producers. Teva is just not sufficient competitors. We’d like extra.
STAT drew on a litany of examples. Syprine (trientine hydrochloride), a 1960s drug for treating Wilson’s illness made by Valeant, which rose from $652 in 2010 to $21,000-plus in 2015. It was pricing like this that made Valeant a inventory market darling for years earlier than it was overtaken by scandal.Teva’s job is difficult by the truth that it’s a “complex generic.” I.e. the drug is a machine in addition to a drugs.
The article concludes on a down word: “Meaningful generic competition, although theoretically a solution to excessive drug pricing, has yet to arrive on a scale that will substantially decrease rising drug prices, including EpiPen. Without other competitors, history tells us not to expect significant cost savings anytime soon for this much-needed medicine.”
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