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article imageMylan's half-price generic Epi-Pen two-pack still expensive

By Karen Graham     Dec 18, 2016 in Health
After coming under fire for its 500 percent price hike on the life-saving emergency allergy treatment Epi-Pen, Mylan announced on Friday it was releasing a generic version for half the price of the branded product starting this week.
The potential cost savings is still questionable, depending in part on patient's insurance coverage and whether they qualify for a discount and assistance programs that the drug maker offers, reports the Associated Press.
"This unprecedented action, along with the enhancements we made to our patient access programs, will help patients and provide substantial savings to payers," the company said in a news release Friday.
The epinephrine in the auto-injector pens can reverse an allergic reaction very quickly, and the pens are stocked by schools and parents of children with severe allergies. But it only took Mylan about 10 years to jack the price of the Epi-Pen two-pack from around $100 to over $600, according to NPR.Org.
In the news release, Mylan continued to argue that the high price of its branded Epi-Pen was the fault of the insurance companies and the complex drug-pricing system in the U.S., making it harder for consumers to afford the high-deductible health plans and high co-payments.
"Families will continue to face sticker shock for medications and may be forced to make difficult choices until the pharmaceutical pricing system is reformed to address the increasing shift of costs directly to consumers," CEO Heather Bresch said in the company's statement.
Twitter @epipen
Not everyone is taking Mylan's Christmas gift to consumers at face value, though. While the media is touting Mylan's 50 percent reduction in the price of the generic version of Epi-Pen, the Los Angeles Times points out "the device will still cost three times as much as it did when Mylan acquired the rights in 2007."
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a strong critic of the pharmaceutical industry's questionable pricing methods, saw through all the hype over Mylan's announcement. “This isn’t a discount,” he tweeted. “It’s a PR move.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders
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