Hospital system creates a $10 EpiKit to compete with EpiPen

Mylan's EpiPen

The drug company Mylan is mostly responsible for a $600 EpiPen pack. But a hospital system has helped to create a much less expensive version of the life-saving medication.

The University of Utah Health Care system has developed a version of the EpiPen that costs only $10, according to Marketplace Radio

Mylan has come under fire for its pricing and business practices in recent months. The EpiPen retailed for $50 apiece just a decade ago. Today, a set of two EpiPens retails for $600, although the company said it would soon introduce a “generic” version that would cost only $150 per unit.

Moreover, the company has come under Congressional scrutiny for what the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has suggested was a deliberate misclassification of EpiPens by Mylan under the Medicaid program as a non-innovator generic, exempting it from many rebates. The misclassficiation did not occur until Mylan acquired the EpiPen line in 2007. That cost the Minnesota Medicaid program at least $4.3 million in overpayments alone. Mylan recently agreed to a $465 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to settle claims from both the federal and state governments.

The EpiKit is not as straightforward as the EpiPen, which delivers the drug through an autoinjection device. Instead, the EpiKit is “a vial of epinephrine, two needles, alcohol wipes, two syringes and instructions.”

The use of the EpiKit within the healthcare system is expected to save it about $35,000 a year. But system CEO Vivian Lee has suggested that the EpiKit could be deployed elsewhere, such as other hospitals and healthcare systems.

“It’s our responsibility to be responsible stewards of the American healthcare dollars,” she told Marketplace. “One of the great things about our system here in this country is that we encourage competition, creativity and innovation. And here I’m seeing some of that innovation play out in a way that could be very beneficial to patients all over.”