July 9, 2019 / 11:52 AM / 9 days ago

Novartis to sell epinephrine shot in U.S. pharmacies amid EpiPen shortage

(Reuters) - Novartis AG (NOVN.S) said on Tuesday it would make its generic pre-filled epinephrine shots immediately available in local pharmacies across the United States, as a shortage of Mylan NV’s (MYL.O) EpiPen emergency allergy treatment drags on due to manufacturing problems.

FILE PHOTO: EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers are seen in Washington, U.S. August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

Novartis’ Sandoz unit launched the Symjepi epinephrine shots for use in hospitals in January and had said it would make the treatment available in pharmacies in a phased manner.

The Swiss drugmaker has an exclusive agreement with Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp (ADMP.O) to distribute and commercialize Symjepi in the United States.

Novartis said both the adult and pediatric doses of Symjepi would be immediately available in local U.S. pharmacies.

The wholesale price for a two-pack of adult-dose syringes is $250, Novartis said, below the $300 charged by Mylan for its authorized generic and for Teva’s (TEVA.TA) generic version of the EpiPen auto-injector.

Mylan still dominates the market for emergency allergy shots with its EpiPen that delivers a dose of epinephrine in the event of severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reactions to a number of triggers, such as bee stings or peanuts.

But there has been a shortage of EpiPens in the United States, Europe and Canada due to manufacturing delays. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration added the treatment to its list of drugs in shortage more than a year ago, and it remains on that list.

Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) Meridian Medical unit, which produces all EpiPens sold globally at a single plant near St. Louis, has been hit by a series of manufacturing problems. The company said in a statement on Tuesday that it anticipates further supply shortages over the coming months.

There is traditionally high demand for the devices in the summer as families look to renew prescriptions ahead of sending children to summer camp or the new school year.

Teva has built significant market share with its generic this year, reaching 18% of the market in late June, according to a research note from Leerink that cited IQVIA (IQV.N) prescription volume data.

Teva said in May it expected to reach around 20% market share by the end of the second quarter and could approach 50% market share by the end of the year.

Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru and Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel and Bill Berkrot

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