EpiPen’s Generic Rival Directs its Attention Towards Black Children

By CultureBanx Team

  • Black children have significantly higher rates of asthma and food allergies
  • Food allergies in the U.S. have an estimated annual cost of $24.8B

Federal regulators approved the first generic version of Mylan’s (MYL +0.49%) EpiPen and EpiPen Jr., developed by Teva (TEVA +0.26%) Pharmaceuticals. It’s going to bring new competition for a medication which has caused public outrage over high drug prices, up roughly 400% in less than a decade. This new lower priced option will primarily impact black kids who have higher allergy rates than their hispanic and white counterparts.

Why This Matters: Based on a study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, African American children have significantly higher rates of asthma, along with allergies to wheat, soy, corn, fish and shellfish. Schools often require two Epipen’s, a quick self-injection system that can be used by anyone to deliver medicine to a person in allergic shock, to be kept in the nurse’s office. This is an expensive ask since a double pack of the product can cost up to $600.

"A major concern is that African-American and Hispanic children had significantly higher rates of food-induced anaphylaxis [severe allergic reaction] than white children," said Dr. Mahboobeh Mahdavinia, an allergy and immunology expert at Rush University in Chicago. Health Day reported food allergies affect 8% of children in the U.S. at an estimated annual cost of $24.8 billion.

The new Teva products are the first competitors cleared by the FDA that are direct generic copies of EpiPen, shares rose nearly 6% on the news. Bloomberg Intelligence found in July, Mylan’s products accounted for almost 75% of U.S. prescriptions for epinephrine autoinjectors. People in the pharmaceutical industry speculate pricing for Teva’s generic drug could costs less than a third of EpiPen’s price, which is good news as the average black family makes less than $40,000 a year.

Situational Awareness: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has pledged to help generic versions of complex drug-device combinations get to market quicker. The current administration wants to bring down drug prices with more low-cost competition. Teva hasn’t specified a launch date or price for the product just yet.

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