The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp.’s emergency epinephrine syringes, known as Symjepi, and the product is expected to go on sale later this year. Epinephrine is used to stop life-threatening allergic reactions from bee stings, medications, or food such as peanuts or shellfish. The product is intended to be a lower cost alternative to Mylan’s commonly used EpiPens.
EpiPen, with more than $1 billion in sales, is Mylan’s top-selling product and has long dominated the epinephrine injection market. However, last year, the price of a pair of EpiPens rose above $600, giving Mylan unwelcome publicity. Higher prices placed the company in the center of the ongoing debate over high drug prices in the United States. In response to the severe criticism, Mylan started offering a generic version for approximately $300.
Adamis Pharmaceuticals believes its product is easier to use when compared to Mylan’s EpiPen. Symjepi is four inches long, and hence fits the palm of an adult hand. Since Symjepi is smaller than EpiPen, it is easier to carry in a purse or a pocket. This makes it easier for people with severe insect or food allergies to carry the device wherever they go. The product’s form makes it much easier to grip and use when compared to EpiPens, the company has stated.
Symjepi is a prefilled syringe, whereas EpiPens are auto-injectors. Since auto-injectors are not intuitive, they come with a training device. Studies show that on several occasions, even doctors misuse the auto-injectors. By comparison, people are more familiar with syringes as they have had vaccines. This may provide Symjepi with an advantage over EpiPens.
The exact price of Symjepi has not been set, but the company aims to sell the product for less than the price of the generic EpiPen. The spokesman of Adamis Pharmaceuticals stated: “We want to position this product as a low-cost alternative to the other current offerings in the anaphylaxis market.” In 2016, Symjepi failed to receive approval from FDA, and the FDA asked the company for more tests. The company is currently waiting for FDA approval of a junior version of Symjepi.
It is too early to predict how consumers would respond to the new allergy shot. Many experts, however, believe that Symjepi would attract a number of EpiPen users. An analyst at Wells Fargo believes that “with an anticipated lower price and attractive design, Symjepi will be a meaningful competitor to EpiPen.” Since the approval of Symjepi by the FDA, the product has received a lot of attention, primarily because it is more affordable than EpiPens. The company’s CEO, Dennis Carlo believes that “with an anticipated lower cost, small size, and user-friendly design, Symjepi could be an attractive option for a significant portion of the retail (patient) and non-retailed (professional) sectors of the epinephrine market.”