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EpiPen's evolving market share

Adapted from Leerink Partners and IQVIA; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Brand-name EpiPen barely has any share of the epinephrine injection market these days — a swift change from 2015, when EpiPens controlled 89% of the market and Mylan earned congressional scrutiny for jacking up prices.

Yes, but: Mylan still owns the market through its "authorized" generic, which launched in 2016. That product is exactly the same as EpiPen, except for the label and its smaller price tag, and it has prevented other competing generics from gaining ground.

Where it stands: The price for a pack of Mylan's generic EpiPens is $300, or about half the price of regular EpiPen.

  • Mylan offers large rebates to insurance middlemen so they will cover brand-name EpiPen, but Mylan doesn't have to do that for its generic.
  • People who rely on epinephrine injectors save money on their out-of-pocket costs with the lower-priced generic, and Mylan has been able to keep a loyal following despite its pricing practices.
  • But the net amount everyone collectively spends on the drug hasn't really changed, and the generic EpiPen may be more profitable for Mylan.

What we're watching: Eli Lilly is mirroring Mylan's EpiPen strategy with its most popular insulin.

The bottom line: Drug companies can retain most or all of their turf by competing with themselves through their own generics.