EpiPen alternative Symjepi could launch as early as this year

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U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its stamp of approval to Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp.’s Symjepi – an alternative to the expensive EpiPen.

The approval mean that the Symjepi could hit shelves as early as this year thereby helping people stop life-threatening allergic reactions from insect stings and bites, foods such as nuts and eggs, or certain medications at much lower prices.

If we look at current prices of EpiPen, it costs about $630 to $700 without insurance. In comparison, the new generic versions of the drug retail for about $225 to $425.

Symjepi is a syringe prefilled with the hormone epinephrine. Adamis says its product is easier to use than Mylan’s EpiPen, a spring-loaded syringe filled with a set dose that comes with a training device. Symjepi also is smaller than EpiPen, so it’s easier to fit in a pocket or purse. Most children and adults with severe food or insect allergies carry a device wherever they go and leave a spare at home, school or work.

Adamis is still in the process of lining up distributor and is still working out a price for Symjepi which will be sold in pairs. Adamis spokesman Mark Flather said Symjepi is intended to be a “low-cost alternative” to EpiPen and similar products, and the company is aiming to sell it for less than generic EpiPens.

In a note to investors, Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat wrote that Symjepi is not identical to EpiPen and so the price Adamis sets “will obviously be an important consideration.”

Mylan, which has U.S. headquarters near Pittsburgh, launched generic EpiPens last December in an effort to deflect mounting criticism. Last summer, the company came under fire for repeatedly raising the price of EpiPens, and CEO Heather Bresch was grilled by a Congressional panel.

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