Generic version of EpiPen to debut in United States

There's a new option for people who rely on the hard-to-find EpiPen.

An Israeli pharmaceutical company has just released a generic version of the injection device used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Teva Pharmaceutical's generic version back in August, but it's just now making its way to pharmacies in the U.S.

It comes a crucial time amid shortages of the injectable emergency treatment for the countless people who suffer from life-threatening allergic reactions, access to an injectable dose of epinephrine can mean the difference between life and death.

The EpiPen, manufactured by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, dominates the market. The company also offers a generic version. Both have been in short supply since may. Many consumers have been looking for other options.

Teva Pharmaceuticals’ version costs $300 -- half the price of the name brand and the same as Mylan’s generic.

Dr. Brad Sellers, ER Medical Director at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, said the new option will benefit the consumer.

“The active ingredients have to be the same in a generic as a brand name along with the strength and dosage. The only thing that changes are the inactive ingredients,” Sellers said.

The maker of the Epipen has blamed manufacturing issues at a Pfizer plant, which supplies the EpiPens, for the shortage. They hope to have the problem fixed by the end of the year.

Sellers says Teva's generic version help fill the void.

“Minutes are a factor when you have an allergic reaction,” Sellers said. “What it does is buy you time so that you can give yourself the injection in the leg, prevent the serious complications of an allergic reaction.”

Teva said it expects to release an additional supply of the generic version of the EpiPen along with a less potent dosage in 2019.

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