The EpiPen now has some competition, as federal regulators have greenlit a cheaper alternative to the controversial emergency allergy medication.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp.’s Symjepi, a device that is due for sale later in the year, Tech Times reports. Similar to the EpiPen, which is manufactured by Mylan, Symjepi is a syringe containing epinephrine. This helps stop potentially fatal allergic reactions quickly when administered immediately.
Also called adrenaline, epinephrine counteracts symptoms of anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that causes a patient’s airways to close up. The hormone helps relax these airways, reducing breathing difficulties and swelling of blood vessels.
The most common allergic reactions are caused by medications, food, insect stings, and latex. As much as 8% of American children have a food allergy, and some 38% of them suffer from severe allergic reactions. An epinephrine device is a lifeline for many of them.
Adamis, based in San Diego, says that its version of the allergy pen is easier to use than the EpiPen. Symjepi is smaller, making it easier to fit and carry in a pocket or purse. Like EpiPens, these newly approved products will be sold in pairs.
Mark Flather, spokesperson for the company, said that while an exact price has not yet been set for the autoinjector, it will definitely be a low-cost alternative to Mylan’s expensive pens. Adamis says it intends to make their product more available than the price of generic EpiPens.
Dennis Carlo, CEO of Adamis, said,
With an anticipated lower cost, small size and user-friendly design, we believe Symjepi could be an attractive option for a significant portion of both the retail (patient) and non-retail (professional) sectors of the epinephrine market.
Mylan faced severe criticism last year due to the sudden surge in its EpiPen prices, which now retail for $630 to $700 without insurance. It launched generic versions in 2016, which still cost anywhere from $225 to $425.