Key EpiPen competitor out in 2017 at 'very, very low' cost

Allergy sufferers will have at least one more option to treat life-threatening.allergic reactions in the first half of 2017, but it's unclear how the price will compare to the EpiPen or its upcoming generic version.

Kaleo, which makes the Auvi-Q, will reintroduce the epinephrine auto-injector at a "very, very low" cost to patients, said Kaleo CEO Spencer Williamson.  Mylan Specialty, the maker of EpiPen, came under fire from members of Congress and parents beginning in August for its large price increases.

It's been a long road to EpiPen competition.

Drugmaker Sanofi, which previously licensed the Auvi-Q from Kaleo, voluntarily recalled all of the injectors late last year amid concerns about incorrect dosing. Sanofi later sold the rights back to Kaleo, which says it fixed the problem and invested in new technology and quality systems to boost reliability.

In March, the Food and Drug Administration rejected an application by Teva Pharmaceuticals to produce a generic version of the EpiPen, citing "certain major deficiencies."

Impax Labs has a generic version of the EpiPen that can be substituted for EpiPens in 21 states. Last month, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch told a House panel that the company would introduce its own generic of its brand name product.

Data out Tuesday showed EpiPen prescriptions increased despite the price hikes in the last few years, Athenahealth reported.

"Mylan is getting a return on their marketing investments," said Josh Gray, Athenahealth's vice president of research.

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