As EpiPen struggles, Walgreens, Kaleo ink Auvi-Q partnership
- Walgreens, one of the nation's largest retail pharmacies, is now also the first to offer Auvi-Q at no cost to commercially insured patients who are eligible for patient support programs created by the epinephrine auto-injector's manufacturer, Kaleo.
- Across Walgreen's roughly 9,800 locations, patients on those plans can get Auvi-Q at either 0.15 mg or 0.30 mg doses for nothing out-of-pocket. Costs vary for patients on government insurance, while patients without any insurance can enroll in Kaleo's assistance program, provided they meet other eligibility criteria.
- The partnership comes amid a far-reaching shortage of Mylan's EpiPen, the longtime market leader for epinephrine auto-injectors.
Kaleo is making moves as its main competitor continues to suffer from production issues that have plagued EpiPen over the last year.
In early August, Mylan said the problems at Pfizer's Meridian Medical Technologies, which manufactures Epipen, have resulted in variable supplies of both its branded and generic EpiPen products, meaning they might not be available for all pharmacies.
The setbacks are especially troublesome for Mylan given the timing of year, as a huge part of EpiPen's business revolves around supplying them to schools. To that point, Kaleo took a barely veiled jab at Mylan around the time of the specialty pharma's August update, touting how Auvi-Q supplies weren't affected by the problems facing "other epinephrine auto-injector manufacturers."
Yet Kaleo's deal with Walgreens is, in many ways, the first concrete indication Auvi-Q is gaining some traction in the epinephrine market. Though the drug-device combination comes at a list price of $4,900, far surpassing the $300 Mylan is charging for its generic EpiPen, Kaleo contends that many patients can get its product free of charge — or at least for $360 cash.
"Walgreens pharmacists continue to care for and work with patients and their prescribers to ensure they have access to the epinephrine auto-injectors they need, and we’re pleased to work with Kaleo to help meet the demand for epinephrine auto-injectors across the country," Richard Ashworth, president of operations at the retail pharmacy, said in a Sept. 6 statement.
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