Allergy sufferers are feeling a new sense of relief after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Teva Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of Mylan’s EpiPen.
“It was a global celebration literally around the world because what we’ve got now is a monopoly,” AllergyKids Foundation Founder Robyn O’Brien said in an exclusive interview with FOX Business’ Liz Claman on Thursday.
O’Brien, who is referred to as the “Erin Brockovich of food allergies,” has been instrumental in getting Capitol Hill’s attention and turning the EpiPen price hike into a national story.
Mylan, the maker of EpiPen, became a virtual monopoly, which, O’Brien says, has created a shortage for the frequently-used medication that treats life-threatening allergies in children.
“Mylan simply acquired the rights to sell this drug,” she said. “The cost of making an EpiPen is one dollar, so for them to all of sudden have a shortage really doesn’t make any sense.”
The FDA extended the expiration date of some EpiPens to address the shortage of the device due to supply, distribution and manufacturing issues.
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O’Brien said that Teva's proposal to acquire Mylan in 2015 forced the EpiPen maker to move its corporate address overseas to lower its U.S. taxes and reject the $40 billion takeover.
“Here’s comes Teva again, three years later, saying, we’re not done with you guys yet. We’re actually going to introduce a true generic into the market place,” she said.
The healthy new dose of competition for the life-saving medication has Mylan’s stock shivering. Before people became cognizance of the price hike of EpiPen, the stock rose to a high of $76 a share in April 2015. The stock is now down half the price at $38.
O’Brien says Mylan is facing a class action lawsuit with nine claims involving consumer protection violations, antitrust, corruption charges and the Sherman and Clayton Act.
“When these cases are brought to a court and brought to jurors, the action is swift and it is very decisive,” she said.
Teva has yet to reveal when it would begin sales of its new generic version of EpiPen or its price.