EpiPen rival to be offered free to many but high price for insurers

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By Bill Berkrot

<span class="articleLocation”>Privately held drugmaker Kaleo on Thursday said
it would offer its Auvi-Q emergency allergy auto-injector at no
cost to many consumers, but set a list price for the EpiPen
rival that will be used as the benchmark cost to insurance
companies at a whopping $4,500.

EpiPen maker Mylan NV came under intense criticism
last year when it raised the price for a pair of its life-saving
auto-injectors to $600, putting it out of reach for many
consumers. It has since said it will sell its own generic EpiPen
for about half that price.

Kaleo, which plans to relaunch Auvi-Q on Feb. 14 following a
product recall, appears to have come up with a strategy to avoid
the ire of mothers whose children depend on the product and
others prone to potentially deadly allergic reactions.

Consumers with commercial or government insurance will be
able to obtain Auvi-Q at no charge, the company said. It will
also make the product available for free to patients with no
insurance and a household income of less than $100,000.

Auvi-Q will be sold at a cash price of $360 for those who do
not qualify for the emergency treatment at no charge, the
Richmond, Virginia-based company said.

However, the starting price from which health insurance
companies will negotiate discounts or rebates will be $4,500. It
remains to be seen how payers will respond to the strategy.

“In order to help ensure Auvi-Q is available as an option to
eligible patients for $0 out-of-pocket, we set the list price at
$4,500,” Kaleo Chief Executive Spencer Williamson said in an
e-mailed statement.

“It’s important to note that nobody pays the list price, and
that the most important price is the price to the patient,”
Williamson said. “No epinephrine auto-injector, branded or even
generic, will cost a commercially insured patient less
out-of-pocket than Auvi-Q.”

EpiPen has had a virtual monopoly on the emergency allergy
treatments with more than a 90 percent market share.

Auvi-Q was originally sold in partnership with French
drugmaker Sanofi, but was pulled from the market over
manufacturing problems. Sanofi has since returned full rights to
Auvi-Q to Kaleo.



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