The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic competitor to the EpiPen.
The approval comes as the U.S. faces an EpiPen shortage – and two years after Mylan came under fire for raising the price of the EpiPen by more than 400 percent.
Mylan’s EpiPen and EpiPen Jr., life-savers for those with severe allergies, will soon compete against a generic version manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals.
“It’s very significant, especially now,” said Kindy Ghussin, chief pharmacist and owner of Heartland Pharmacy, located in Kettering and Moraine. “I think it was the right time for the FDA to approve it.”
Ghussin said he believes it’s the right time since many families get new EpiPen prescriptions filled around the start of the school year. And the FDA declared a shortage of EpiPens a few months ago, which Ghussin said is being felt in his pharmacy.
“I’m not even able to get one if I want to, and so hopefully with that move, there’ll be more EpiPens flooding the wholesalers so I can get it in stock for my patients,” he said.
Mylan faced controversy in 2016 after it raised the price of EpiPen by 400 percent over a decade to $600 for a 2-pack. The company introduced its own generic form of the EpiPen later that year at half the price.
Ghussin said he hopes a generic competitor drives prices down, which he said would benefit patients and businesses.
“It runs me, as a pharmacy, to buy it, over $500, $600 just to buy it,” Ghussin said. “Not to sell it.”
Alicia Puller, who has a food allergy, said although she doesn’t use an EpiPen, she believes it’s important that those who need it can access it.
“I think it’s great for families that can’t afford the EpiPen,” Puller said. “I think it would help them out a great deal.”
There’s no word yet on exactly how much the generic version will cost or when it will become available.