Move over, EpiPen. You've got competition.
Kaléo, a privately held pharmaceutical company based in Richmond, Virginia, has revealed that its Auvi-Q Auto-injector (epinephrine injection or USP auto-injector) will be available by prescription starting Feb. 14 this year.
Auvi-Q was voluntarily recalled nationwide back in October 2015 because of reports of potential inaccurate dosage delivery. One of EpiPen's strongest competitors so far, Auvi-Q Auto-injector will make a big comeback in 2017, boasting features that include voice instructions and an automatic needle retraction system, plus an access program to get it at no cost.
What Is An Epinephrine Injection, USP Auto-Injector?
Epinephrine belongs to the alpha- and beta-adrenergic agonists (sympathomimetic agents), which is a class of medications that works by relaxing the muscles in the airways and tightening the blood vessels.
Epinephrine injections or USP injectors are specifically designed for emergency medical treatments of life-threatening allergic reactions usually triggered by certain food, drugs, latex, and insect bites or stings. They come as pre-filled automatic injections with vials containing the liquid solution. An epinephrine shot should be given either subcutaneously (under the skin) or intramuscularly (into the muscle) at the first symptom of a serious allergic reaction.
Cheapest EpiPen Alternative
For Kaléo, Auvi-Q is a stark contrast from EpiPen, Mylan's anti-allergy prescription drug, which drew public flak after its price went up to a whopping $600 last year. Kaléo claims it offers a more pocket-friendly product - offering two auto-injectors at a guaranteed price of $360 - and a first-of-its-kind AffordAbility commitment program.
"We met with patients and physicians and listened to the very real challenges in the current healthcare environment with obtaining access to affordable medicines," stated Kaléo President and CEO Spencer Williamson. "As a result, starting Feb. 14, for more than 200 million Americans with commercial insurance, including those with high-deductible plans, the out-of-pocket cost for Auvi-Q will be $0."
"We wish we didn't have to do this, but the system is set up in a way that without this bold move, patients wouldn't get access and be able to afford Auvi-Q," Williamson told CNBC in a telephone interview. "We're confident the model provides access and affordability, and that it is a sustainable model."
In reality, its actual price is many times higher compared to existing competitors, but according to Kaléo, with many insurance providers covering the product, nothing in the market "will cost a commercially insured patient less out of pocket than Auvi-Q."