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EpiPen Rival Auvi-Q Will Be Offered Free to Many Consumers—But Will Cost Insurers Big Bucks

Epinephrine autoinjector debuts on February 14

Kaléo, a privately held pharma company based in Richmond, Virginia, has announced that its Auvi-Q (epinephrine injection) emergency allergy autoinjector––a rival to the infamous EpiPen––will be available by prescription starting February 14. In addition, the company said that it is initiating Auvi-Q AffordAbility, a first-of-its-kind access program that will make the product available at no cost to many consumers.

Through the new program, patients with commercial insurance, even those with high-deductible plans, will have an out-of-pocket cost of $0, according to the announcement. For patients who do not have government or commercial insurance and have a household income of less than $100,000, the Auvi-Q autoinjector will be available free of charge. In addition, the cash price for Auvi-Q will be $360 for those who do not qualify for the emergency treatment at no charge.

In a separate email statement, however, the company added that the starting price from which health insurance companies will negotiate discounts or rebates will be $4,500.

Each Auvi-Q prescription includes two auto-injectors and one trainer for Auvi-Q. The product features voice instructions that help guide a user with step-by-step instructions through the epinephrine delivery process and an automatic retractable needle system.

Auvi-Q was originally sold by Kaléo in partnership with French drug maker Sanofi, but it was pulled from the U.S. market because of manufacturing problems. Sanofi has since returned full rights to the product to Kaléo.

Last year, EpiPen maker Mylan came under fierce criticism when it raised the price for a pair of its life-saving auto-injectors to $600, putting it out of reach for many consumers. The company has since said it will sell its own generic EpiPen for about half that price. The EpiPen has enjoyed a virtual monopoly on emergency allergy treatments, with more than a 90% market share.

Sources: Kaléo; January 19, 2017; and Reuters; January 19, 2017.

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