EpiPen Price Rise Resurrects Auvi-Q: Competitor Promises ‘Cheaper’ Alternative To Mylan’s EpiPen With Advanced Features In 2017

An affordable alternative to Mylan’s hyper-priced EpiPen will soon be reintroduced in the American market, promised its maker. Pharmaceutical company Kaleo has assured a cheaper alternative to EpiPen called Auvi-Q that delivers a similar epinephrine dosage. It will be offered for sale at a “very very low cost to patients,” promised the manufacturer.

EpiPen’s main competitor, the Auvi-Q, is being brought back on the market, confirmed its manufacturer. Auvi-Q is essentially an epinephrine auto-injector that delivers a life-saving dose of the hormone to someone suffering a life-threatening allergy attack. The product was abruptly yanked off the shelves last year by the makers themselves citing manufacturing problems, reported Forbes. The large-scale voluntary recall was ordered because the auto-injectors could “potentially have inaccurate dosage delivery,” indicated the FDA.

Fortunately, all the potential risks associated with the usage of the product have been addressed, assured the company. Moreover, the revised and improved versions of the EpiPen alternative that will soon adorn pharmacy shelves in the first half of next year have been infused with advanced features.

Auvi-Q’s manufacturer, Kaleo, is a closely held pharmaceutical company. It is based in Richmond, Virginia. The EpiPen alternative was launched in 2013 by the drug giant Sanofi. It was subsequently licensed by Kaleo. Auvi-Q was previously known as Intelliject.

The company has promised that Auvi-Q will not be anywhere near as expensive as EpiPen, reported the New York Times. In fact, the life-saving epinephrine injector will have low out-of-pocket costs for patients, assured Spencer Williamson, Kaleo’s president and chief executive.

“It is not in the best interest of patients or physicians to have high out-of-pocket costs. We’re engaging with all of the stakeholders–wholesalers and pharmacy benefits managers–to insure that we can provide this innovative technology to patients and that they can afford it. And we are going to assure that the out-of-pocket is going to be low for patients.”

It is quite apparent that Kaleo has attempted to resurrect Auvi-Q in the face of intense backlash pharmaceutical company Mylan is facing for consistent, exponential, and massive price surge of EpiPen. However, Kaleo hasn’t revealed any details about the actual prices of Auvi-Q, nor has it divulged any pricing strategies.

Nonetheless, the company has promised it will offer Auvi-Q at an affordable price even to patients without health insurance, and categorically added that some competition will surely benefit the patients.

Interestingly, the product design of Auvi-Q is quite intelligent. Its smaller size, roughly resembling a credit card, made it easier to carry. The product was as thick as an average smartphone. Moreover, while EpiPen’s needle was clearly visible and intimidating to some, newer variants of Auvi-Q feature a carefully hidden needle that is retractable. If that’s not all, prerecorded audio message instructs Auvi-Q users how to operate the injector. Needless to say, seeing an asphyxiated teen or child can be a very unnerving experience, and hence an audio message could offer an advantage to a panicked parent or adult.

Allergy patients and, more importantly, the families of the sufferers have been long waiting for some healthy competition in the market for lifesaving epinephrine medications. Needless to say, EpiPen manufacturer Mylan has not only enjoyed its near-monopoly status since 2008, but many allege that they have grossly abused the privilege by jacking up the price of the injector by more than 500 percent during the time period.

While experts indicate the EpiPen can be mass-manufactured for as little as $20 per injector, Mylan went on increasing the price from $100 for a pair to more than $600. The serious public outrage forced Mylan’s CEO Heather Bresch to testify in front of Congress to explain the absurd price for a life-saving product. Incidentally, Mylan has promised to bring a cheaper EpiPen soon.

[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]