Mylan's generic option could cost patients more, says pharmacist


Mylan said it would launch the first generic version of its allergy auto-injector EpiPen at half the price of the branded product, but a chief pharmacy officer says that the generic drug could end up costing patients even more.

"Most generic companies don't allow co-pay cards," said Scott Knoer, chief pharmacy officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

He explained on CNBC's "Closing Bell" that the unavailability of a co-pay card for generic drugs or even with a high-deductible insurance plan increases the chances for a patient to pay out of pocket.

Knoer viewed Mylan's offering of a generic brand as the company's way to "command both brand and potentially the generic market," while the competitors struggle to break into the market.

Mylan has claimed that pharmacies are to blame for the higher costs of branded drugs. Knoer's said he believes "that statement is almost as egregious as the pricing increases that they've done."

Mylan said it expects to launch the generic alternative at a list price of $300, compared to the branded list price of $600. Knoer said his clinics have kits with syringes and Epinephrine administered by trained nurses to help to keep cost low.

"It costs us about $15 dollars," said Knoer, on the actual cost per vial of Epinephrine. However, the difference in pricing comes down to the way the drug is administered, making a $15 commercial option "really challenging."

-Reuters contributed to this report