By Patricia Sabatini
PITTSBURGH – Taking a stab at breaking the market dominance of Mylan’s EpiPen allergy shot, CVS Pharmacy on Thursday announced it has begun selling a similar auto-injector at a fraction of the cost.
The nation’s biggest drug store chain said the generic version of Adrenaclick – a tiny EpiPen competitor – costs $109.99 per two-pack. That compares to just over $600 a pack for the EpiPen and $300 for the generic EpiPen that local drug giant Mylan launched last month.
“We recognized the urgent need for a less-expensive epinephrine auto-injector, and are proud to offer a low-cost option,” CVS said in a statement. The Rhode Island-based company has some 9,600 stores nationwide.
The generic Adrenaclick, sold by Impax Laboratories in California, contains the same active ingredient to counteract life-threatening allergic reactions as the EpiPen, but uses a slightly different delivery system. The brand-name version of Adrenaclick is no longer manufactured.
A year ago, the device held a tiny 4 percent market share, according to Impax. Its share rose to around 7 percent last fall in the wake of growing outrage over the spiraling cost of the EpiPen, the company has said.
By teaming up with CVS, Impax appears poised to become a much more significant player.
Mylan, which is run from executive offices outside Pittsburgh, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
CVS said patients should speak with their health care provider about possibly switching to the generic Adrenaclick.
The $109.99 list price is for cash-paying customers. Customers with insurance coverage who have not yet met their deductible for the year also may be able to lower their out-of-pocket costs, CVS said.
Skyrocketing drug prices have become a growing concern among the public and on Capitol Hill.
As furor grew late last summer over the cost of the EpiPen, which has soared some 500 percent in recent years, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch testified before a House committee hearing during which lawmakers criticized what they considered corporate greed and price-gouging.
In his first news conference as president-elect, Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked drugmakers and their price hikes, saying they were “getting away with murder.”
Trump’s comments immediately sent drug stocks lower. Mylan shares lost $1.67 on Wednesday to close at $37.28. On Thursday, shares dropped 51 cents to close at $36.69.