A major food allergy advocacy group said this week that it would stop accepting donations immediately from drug companies selling epinephrine auto-injectors until there is “meaningful competition” in the market.
While not mentioning Mylan by name, the statement from Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) implies that the EpiPen manufacturer is one of the targets. Mylan is the only one of FARE’s corporate sponsors that currently markets epinephrine auto-injectors. The organization’s chief executive officer, Dr. James Baker, would not specify the exact amount of money that Mylan has donated to FARE, and the statement did not address how it would make up the lost donations.
The cost to pharmacies of Mylan’s EpiPen has risen 450 percent since 2004, adjusted for inflation, drawing the ire of politicians and patients alike. One-quarter of the US Senate has started looking into the issue.
In addition to Mylan, FARE lists Sanofi (SNY) under “Corporate Sponsors” on its website. Sanofi used to market Auvi-Q, another epinephrine auto-injector that was recalled last year over concerns that patients weren’t getting the correct dose every time.
When political attention began to focus on Mylan at the end of August, FARE released a statement, calling on “manufacturers, insurers, regulators, pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies … to justify the increased cost of epinephrine to consumers and identify solutions that will help to ease the financial burden currently faced by patients who need epinephrine.”
According to FARE’s statement, less than 6 percent of its now $14 million budget comes from corporate sponsors who are pharmaceutical companies.
The organization has been actively involved in efforts across the country to expand access to epinephrine auto-injectors in public places like schools. Mylan, which markets the EpiPen, the dominant epinephrine auto-injector, spearheaded the effort to enable such increased access.
Baker said that while his group will not accept donations from manufacturers, it will continue to work with them to “encourage innovative and affordable epinephrine options to our community.”
In an email to STAT Mylan said they “continue to support the mission of the organization [FARE] as part of our ongoing commitment to anaphylaxis education and awareness.”
This story was updated with comment from Mylan.