EpiPen rival to be
offered free to many but high price for insurers
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[January 20, 2017]
By Bill Berkrot
(Reuters) - Privately held drugmaker Kaleo
on Thursday said it would offer its Auvi-Q emergency allergy
auto-injector at no cost to many consumers, but set a list price for the
EpiPen rival that will be used as the benchmark cost to insurance
companies at a whopping $4,500.
EpiPen maker Mylan NV came under intense criticism last year when it
raised the price for a pair of its life-saving auto-injectors to
$600, putting it out of reach for many consumers. It has since said
it will sell its own generic EpiPen for about half that price.
Kaleo, which plans to relaunch Auvi-Q on Feb. 14 following a product
recall, appears to have come up with a strategy to avoid the ire of
mothers whose children depend on the product and others prone to
potentially deadly allergic reactions.
Consumers with commercial or government insurance will be able to
obtain Auvi-Q at no charge, the company said. It will also make the
product available for free to patients with no insurance and a
household income of less than $100,000.
Auvi-Q will be sold at a cash price of $360 for those who do not
qualify for the emergency treatment at no charge, the Richmond,
Virginia-based company said.
However, the starting price from which health insurance companies
will negotiate discounts or rebates will be $4,500. It remains to be
seen how payers will respond to the strategy.
"In order to help ensure Auvi-Q is available as an option to
eligible patients for $0 out-of-pocket, we set the list price at
$4,500," Kaleo Chief Executive Spencer Williamson said in an
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"It's important to note that nobody pays the list price, and that
the most important price is the price to the patient," Williamson
said. "No epinephrine auto-injector, branded or even generic, will
cost a commercially insured patient less out-of-pocket than Auvi-Q."
EpiPen has had a virtual monopoly on the emergency allergy
treatments with more than a 90 percent market share.
Auvi-Q was originally sold in partnership with French drugmaker
Sanofi, but was pulled from the market over manufacturing problems.
Sanofi has since returned full rights to Auvi-Q to Kaleo.
(Reporting by Bill Berkrot)
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