EpiPen drugmaker announces generic version to cost half the price

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EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers are seen in Washington, U.S. August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg - RTX2MWTD

Pharmaceutical company Mylan will being manufacturing a generic version of the EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens. Photo by REUTERS/Jim Bourg

A cheaper, generic EpiPen is coming to market after its maker, Mylan, was criticized by the public and chastised by members of Congress for gradually raising the price of a twin-pack to $608.

Identical to the original product — a pre-filled syringe containing epinephrine, used for life-threatening allergic reactions — the generic will cost $300 for two, reports the Associated Press.

But the price cut could also be a savvy business move, according to Stat, allowing Mylan to box out newcomers to the market and ultimately boost their profits.

WATCH: Price of EpiPens spikes, causing major health concerns

Mylan had come under heat in recent days for raising the list price of the drug by 450 percent since 2004, adjusted for inflation. Back in July, Stat reported that some emergency medical responders and families had begun using regular syringes instead of EpiPens because of the prohibitive cost, even for some with insurance.

Mylan says 80 percent of commercially insured patients paid nothing for their EpiPens last year. But those with high-deductibles may not be immune to the price hikes.

On the NewsHour, Minnestona Sen. Amy Klobuchar rejected a Mylan statement suggesting that the changing nature of insurance companies “has presented new challenges for consumers, and now they are bearing more of the cost.”

“When it comes to the fact that they have been selling these things at this high price, and they blame insurance companies and government and everyone else, their profit margin is the one that’s gone up,” said Klobuchar, whose daughter suffers severe allergies. “They’re the ones that made more money.”

Before the company announced the upcoming release of its generic product, it had promised last week to expand programs to make EpiPen more affordable, according to AP, including raising the income eligibility for its assistance programs.

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