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Cheaper alternative to EpiPen allergy shot approved by FDA

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Symjepi is expected to hit the market later this year

Symjepi, a new allergy shot drug that will compete with Mylan’s Epipen.
Photo by Audacity Health/Courtesy of Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp. via AP

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a new allergy shot medication that will directly compete with Mylan’s EpiPen, the allergy medicine that’s been heavily criticized for being unaffordable. It’s not clear how much the new medication will cost, but manufacturer Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corporation says it’ll be a cheaper alternative to the EpiPen.

Called Symjepi, the new allergy shot also comes in two, single-dose syringes filled with the hormone epinephrine, which ends potentially life-threatening allergy attacks from bug bites, foods like nuts, and other medication. Symjepi is expected to hit the market later this year, according to the Associated Press.

EpiPen’s producer, Mylan, came under fire last year for spiking the price of its drug to more than $600 from about $100 in 2007. It costs less than $20 to make a pair of EpiPens, the AP says. In December, the company launched a generic version of the drug for about $300. (A generic drug is identical to a brand-name one in terms of its chemical composition and safety, but it costs less.)

Adamis is looking into selling the new medication, Symjepi, for less than the generic EpiPen, a company spokesman told the AP. In the meantime, the company is also preparing to apply for FDA approval of a junior version of Symjepi, which will contain less epinephrine and will compete with Mylan’s EpiPen Jr.