Six months after outrage over the skyrocketing cost of the life-saving EpiPen generated a public outcry, a competitor is about to hit the market -- and many Americans will qualify to receive it for free.
Auvi-Q, which was available in 2015 but taken off the market after dosage issues, will be available again next month. Manufacturer Kaleo has promised that the drug will be distributed for free to patients with commercial insurance, and to those without insurance and an income under $100,000. The cash price for two injectors is $360. The official list price is $4,500, but few consumers are expected to pay that much.
“We met with patients and physicians and listened to the very real challenges in the current healthcare environment with obtaining affordable medicines,” Kaleo president and CEO Spencer Williamson said in a statement. “As a result, starting February 14, for more than 200 million Americans with commercial insurance, including those with high-deductible plans, the out-of-pocket cost for Auvi-Q will be $0.”
Like the EpiPen, Auvi-Q is a prescription injection used to treat life-threatening allergies, including anaphylaxis.
Patients and policymakers decried Mylan, the manufacturer of the EpiPen, last summer after news reports revealed that it had increased the price of its auto-injector six-fold to $600 in less than 10 years.
In response, the company introduced a lower-priced, generic version of the EpiPen. Impax Laboratories also recently launched another injectable pen for life-threatening allergies, Adrenaclick, available at CVS for $110.