EpiPen is getting a worthy rival this 2017 when the newly approved medicine Symjepi goes on sale later this year. While it is still too early to tell how consumers will respond to the new allergy shot, many are already anticipating Symjepi to attract many EpiPen users. 

This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Adamis Pharmaceutical Corporation’s Symjepi, and the new medication quickly got a lot of attention online. The reason, of course, is the more affordable pricing of the drug compared to that of Mylan’s EpiPen.

Symjepi is going to be a strong rival to the EpiPen considering that Adamis intends to make it the cheaper alternative to the latter. As of late, there’s still no information on how much the new allergy shot will cost. The EpiPen has a price tag of over $600, though it only costs less than $20 to make a pair. The generic version costs $300. 

If Adamis is keeping its word that Symjepi will be a cheaper alternative, then everyone should expect the new drug to be way more affordable than the EpiPen. Analysts are already predicting Symjepi to drain Mylan’s sales and even profits. “We want to position this product as a low-cost alternative to the other current offerings in the anaphylaxis market,” a spokesperson for Adamis told Fierce Pharma in an email. 

Adamis is clearly targeting Mylan’s pricing for its EpiPen and is taking advantage of the situation. Apparently, aside from coming up with the more affordable alternative, the pharmaceutical company is also working on a junior version of Symjepi to compete with EpiPen Jr. This will contain less epinephrine than the standard version, according to The Verge. For now, the company is in the process of applying for FDA approval for the smaller injection. 

To be fair though, Symjepi is smaller then the standard EpiPen. It could be easily carried in a pocket or a purse. Plus, it’s form factor makes it easier to grip and use than the EpiPen. Given these, it wouldn’t come as a shock when Symjepi puts a dent on Mylan’s business. Even Wells Fargo analyst David Maris thinks the same thing. “With an anticipated lower price and attractive design, we believe Symjepi will be a meaningful competitor to EpiPen.” Maris said. “We expect a significant portion of EpiPen sales and gross profit may be at risk. ”

Both the EpiPen and Symjepi contain the hormone epinephrine, which is useful in countering the life-threatening allergic reactions brought about by certain foods, insect stings and bites. EpiPen also has other rivals, but nothing has come close to the popularity of the established medication. The drug has generated more than $1 billion in sales and continues to dominate the epinephrine injection market since doctors readily prescribe it.

The EpiPen used to cost $94 back in 2007. Its price significantly increased after Mylan acquired the product, as pointed out by The Philadelphia Tribune. Last year, its price soared to $608. Since the medical shot needs to be replaced each year, many criticized the pharmaceutical company for being “greedy.” Nevertheless, Mylan maintains that the tweaks to the design of the dispensing device of the drug is the primary reason behind the price hikes.

EpiPen The EpiPen is getting a worthy rival later this year. Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg