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    CVS, Cigna on board with generic EpiPens

    Generic EpiPens are expected to result in considerable savings to the US health care system, especially with CVS Health coming on board.

    After consumer and Congressional protests over EpiPen’s price spiking to more $600 per two-pack in 2016, Mylan said it would begin marketing the first generic version of EpiPen for around $300 per 2-pack. This represents a discount of more than 50% to the Mylan list price.

    Then, on January, 12, CVS Health said it would start selling the authorized generic for Adrenaclick, made by Lineage Therapeutics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Impact Laboratories. CVS’s price is $109.99 per two-pack – the “lowest cash price in the market,” CVS Health said on its web site.

    Other pharmacy chains offer the generic EpiPen, but for a higher price. Walgreens sells the two-pack for $192.98 (with coupons available), according to GoodRx.com, while Rite-Aid markets the generic two-pack for $205.10 plus coupon.

    “We recognized the urgent need for a less-expensive epinephrine auto-injector, and are proud to offer a low-cost option at all CVS Pharmacy locations,” CVS Health said. The authorized generic is an FDA-approved device with the same active ingredient as other epinephrine auto-injector devices.

    “We’re encouraged to see national efforts to make epinephrine auto-injectors more affordable and more available to Americans across the country. Partnerships that increase access to vital medications are key in helping those suffering from life-threatening allergies,” said Cary Sennett, MD, PhD, President and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

    In other good news for generic EpiPen makers and patients, Cigna said it's dropping coverage for name brand EpiPens, in favor of the generic version.

    "It is positive news for our customers," said Cigna spokeswoman Karen Eldred in a statement. "The generic version, available now in pharmacies, has the same drug formulation and device functionality as the branded medication, but at a substantial cost savings."

    Christine Blank
    Contributing Editor Christine Blank is a freelance writer based in Florida.

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