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Friday December 14th, 2018 12:23AM

Drugmaker to sell cheaper generic rival to EpiPen injectors

By The Associated Press
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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Generic drugmaker Sandoz announced plans Thursday to start selling a slightly cheaper version of the EpiPen in the U.S. early next year.

The penlike injectors are used to halt life-threatening allergic reactions to insect bites, nuts and other foods. Brand-name EpiPen, which dominates the market, has been in short supply since spring because of production problems.

Sandoz will sell a pair of injectors, under the name Symjepi, for $250 without insurance. Two other generics on the market in the U.S. cost $300 a pair, including one from EpiPen seller Mylan. The company started selling its own generic after it was blasted for repeated hikes that pushed up its list price from $94 to $608 for a pair of brand-name EpiPens.

What people pay varies, though, depending on insurance, discounts and the pharmacy.

Mylan's injectors are made by a subsidiary of Pfizer, which is upgrading factories to fix quality problems. That resulted in production slowdowns. Pfizer said Thursday it's shipping some injectors and expects to ship more in the coming months.

The shortages triggered temporary shortages of other injectors, including Auvi-Q. As a result, U.S. regulators let some manufacturers extend expiration dates.

Sandox, part of Novartis AG., will sell adult injectors made by Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp. A children's version will follow.

Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries began selling limited quantities of its new generic EpiPen in the U.S. last week.

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Follow Linda A. Johnson on Twitter: @LindaJ_onPharma

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The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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