There has been a lot of excitement in the online food allergy community about the launch of the Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injector, known as Allerject in Canada. Sanofi (which produces the Auvi-Q/Allerject) invited US based bloggers to an Auvi-Q Summit, and the resulting posts were interesting and informative.
Sanofi is off to a very good start capturing the attention of the online food allergy community and engaging them so that they’ll inform their readers about the Auvi-Q injector. I’m interested to see if they’ll stay relevant and connected to us, now that the product launch is over.
Mylan appears to be concerned about having competition. What product on the market can you think of that’s enjoyed no competition? The EpiPen has been in that privileged spot for twenty-five years, enjoying 97% to 98% market share, and I submit that it will benefit consumers now that there’s now a serious competitor on the market.
I’m very disappointed to see that Mylan CEO, Heather Bresch, has launched an attack against Sanofi in this New York Times article published two days ago. Quote: “In an interview this week, Mylan’s chief executive took issue with claims [by Sanofi] that up to two-thirds of EpiPen users do not carry their devices, saying the company would take “appropriate action” to challenge the claims.” Ms. Bresch is further quoted as saying that while Sanofi is raising awareness about the dangers of severe allergic reactions, they’re doing so in a misleading way.
Seriously? Two weeks into the Auvi-Q launch, Mylan has found a reason to challenge or sue them and has declared it to the world in the New York Times! After reaching out to bloggers at a Mylan EpiPen Summit last week (the first of its kind to my knowledge), how will this endear them to those bloggers, whose support they seem to be beginning to value?
I’m honestly confused. In this New York Times article published on March 9, 2012 quoting Ms. Bresch titled “A Dangerous Allergy To Change”, it says that around 1.7 million Americans have now received EpiPens via prescription. I was shocked by that low number, because by my calculations about 75 million Americans are at risk of anaphylaxis from food, latex, insect stings, and medication combined.
The writer goes on to state that only around 7 per cent of the people who are at risk of an allergic reaction are now thought to hold EpiPens, either because they never bothered to get a prescription, were unaware of their risk, or could not afford the $100 price-tag… and even people who have prescriptions sometimes leave their EpiPens behind.
It seems that Mylan’s concern is that Sanofi has quantified the percentage of people who sometimes leave their EpiPens behind. Ms. Bresch was using this unquantified population to her advantage in “A Dangerous Allergy To Change,” when she argued that because people sometimes don’t carry epinephrine, it should be available in public spaces. The author noted that while Mylan’s own interest is clearly commercial, it is hard to disagree. I assume that Ms. Bresch was quoted correctly and was happy with that content, because a correction was not issued.
I’d like to see consistency in Ms. Bresch’s arguments on behalf of Mylan. I’d be horrified to see them sue Sanofi (again)* in an effort to keep the Auvi-Q off the market or to deplete Sanofi’s assets or reach. If Mylan didn’t make enough of their privileged competition-free position over the last 25 years, they have no one to blame but themselves.
* In January 2011, King Pharmaceuticals launched a lawsuit against Intelliject (the equivalent players are now Mylan and Sanofi) alleging patent infringement and held up the final FDA approval of the Auvi-Q until it was resolved. The parties settled in March 2012, and as part of the settlement, Intelliject agreed to not market Auvi-Q until at least November 15, 2012. Source: http://www.fdalawyersblog.com/2012/08/intellijectsanofi-auvi-q-devic.html Accessed 2 February 2013.