An 'affordable' alternative to EpiPens is coming in 2017

It looks like people with allergies won't be limited to EpiPens for long, a new epinephrine auto-injector will be hitting the shelves in 2017.
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There's going to be a cheaper EpiPen alternative on the market in 2017.

Another epinephrine auto-injector called Auvi-Q will be making a return.

Like an EpiPen, people can use the medical device to give themselves a shot if they have a life-threatening allergic reaction like anaphylactic shock.

USA Today reports the company that used to license the product voluntarily recalled it last year due to concerns about incorrect dosing. Rights to the drug have been sold to Kaleo, a pharmaceutical company which says it's fixed the problem.

While prices have not been released yet, the product's website says it will be affordable. Kaleo CEO Spencer Williamson told USA Today the auto-injector will be sold at a "very, very low" cost to patients.

Previously, there weren't many good alternatives to EpiPens. Mylan Pharmaceutical – which owns the special auto injector that makes EpiPens easy to use – became a monopoly in the market so people didn't have much choice but to pay its rising costs.

“These lifesaving devices must be accessible and affordable," said James R. Baker, Jr., the CEO for Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). "Americans should have options.”

Now only time will tell how having a new product in the market will impact EpiPen and its inflated prices.

EpiPen's rising costs

Earlier this year, it became public that EpiPen prices had increased 400 percent since 2009.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was one of many officials to call out Mylan Pharmaceutical for the “outrageous price increases.” She noted a pack of two pens cost about $100 in 2009. Now that same pack costs $500 to $600.

According to Forbes, the epinephrine itself isn't even expensive.

What hiked EpiPen prices was the special auto-injector pen only Mylan had rights to.

So basically, people were forced to pay hundreds of dollars for a system to perfectly calibrate $1 worth of epinephrine.

Mylan has said it'll do some things to reduce costs like offer savings cards and allow more families to qualify for an assistance program.

The New York Times says EpiPen's maker is also expected to release a generic version of its product before the end of the year.

NPR reports Mylan's own generic product will be about half the price of the original.

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