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Will New Epinephrine Shot Be More Affordable?

Novartis has brought out a new epinephrine shot for emergency use in case of allergic reactions. Called Symjepi, it costs less than EpiPen.
Woman injecting emergency medicine into her leg

A few years ago, there was quite a fuss about high prices and shortages affecting EpiPen emergency allergy injections. This epinephrine shot is used to avert anaphylactic shock that can be life threatening. Without rapid access to epinephrine (adrenaline), an affected person’s airways could constrict and she might collapse and even die. That is why doctors prescribe epinephrine auto-injectors for people to use themselves if they have known allergies like those to bee stings, peanuts or shellfish.

What Is the Problem with EpiPen?

Drug maker Mylan gets its epinephrine auto-injectors from Pfizer. A plant in St. Louis that makes EpiPen is having manufacturing difficulties. As a result, the generic epinephrine products are also in short supply. 

A New Epinephrine Shot Costs Less:

Now, Novartis has announced that it has a new version of the epinephrine shot. The company will make epinephrine auto-injectors available in pharmacies. The drug maker has made the medication, known as Symjepi, available to pharmacies since the beginning of the year. The wholesale price for a double pack of injectors is $250, lower than the $300 Mylan and Teva charge for their generic versions. 

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Not wanting to see a needle and have to push it into my own body, I prefer the Teva generic auto injector. NOT a Mylan device because Mylan has been ripping us off for years until the FDA finally approved the generic by Teva.

Also, with the Symjepi you could easily waste life-saving product by accidentally pushing the plunger prior to full insertion of the needle, esp if wearing heavier, thicker clothing. Then you might need a 2nd syringe, if you even have one.

Not worth the $25 per injection cost saving in my opinion.

Epinephrine auto-injectors should be administered in the outer thigh, not the front as the photo shows.

This is great news. I used and loved the old Ana-kits but for some reason those went off the market years ago and I have been stuck with that danged high replacement cost Epipen from Mylan. I have never had to use it, thank God, but I have had to replace them every few years and would be interested in what their actual shelf life is, not the “use by” date, so I could hold onto them longer. Replacing unused epipens is very annoying as well as expensive.

Shelf life? A reference I posted on People’s Pharmacy around April 30, 2016 cited an NIH study showing that epinephrine injectors aged 5 years were still 75% strength.

Consider that injector pens only come in two dosages:
–Child, up to 70 lbs.
–Adult, above 70 lbs

The adult dose covers 70 lbs to 500 lbs (I suppose) and above. So if you weigh less than 375 lbs, you can safely rely on product aged five years.

The one-year expiration on _everything_ seems to be a plot by pharmacies or manufacturers. Probably a good source for another People’s Pharmacy column.

I have had to buy these things since the 80s, first for fire ants and now for yellow jackets. Last one I bought was about two years ago at a in Sault Ste Marie for about $80 US. No prescription required. This is one of the worst of the medical rackets. The epinephrine itself costs less than a dollar, and the technology of the device was paid for by the US military long ago (for use in chemical warfare). The device is less complicated to manufacture than many childrens’ toys. Next time I buy it will be from Canada, either online or in person. I haven’t checked recently, but the online vendors usually show another brand, in addition to the Mylan brand, available in the UK but not the U.S.

I kept a few beehives in my back yard for years, and so I kept an EpiPen handy in case a visitor had a bad reaction to a sting. At about $40 it was very affordable. The manufacturer claimed yearly replacement was necessary even though the pens were viable for 3 years. Only when laws required every school to stock these did the price skyrocket. A captive audience had no choice. Fascism is described as a situation where government and industry join forces. You can make up your own mind on this.

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