(Story updated at 12:47 p.m. ET)
Cigna Corp. will not cover Mylan's EpiPen epinephrine auto-injector in 2017. Instead, the insurer will cover Mylan's $300 generic version of the EpiPen, which is half the list price of the brand-name drug.
"With this new development, we have revised our covered drug list to encourage use of the generic version as it will deliver more overall value to customers and clients," said Cigna spokeswoman Karen Eldred. "As with other situations, we will work with a customer's doctor if there is a reason to consider approving coverage for the non-covered brand drug as medically necessary."
Cigna's switch to the recently launched Mylan generic comes a day after President-elect Donald Trump said many drug companies are "getting away with murder" setting their products' prices. Those comments sent drug stocks plummeting. Mylan shares closed down 4.3%.
Mylan faced considerable criticism after media reports that the company raised the price of the EpiPen by more than 500% since 2007. Public backlash forced Mylan to develop a generic version of the auto-injector priced at $300 for a two-pack.
Auto-injectors deliver a small, one-time, dose of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. The drug opens up a person's airway, reduces swelling and stabilizes blood pressure to counteract an anaphylactic reaction. It can be life-saving for 1 in 5 Americans who rely on them.
But the cost of Amsterdam-based Mylan's products have made it difficult for many patients to afford them.
A single prescription for EpiPen—which comes in a two-injector pack— comes at a list price of $608. Insurance coverage varies widely, with some consumers paying nothing for the drug and others paying $400-$500 before any coupons. Mylan is now offering a coupon that offers a maximum $300-off value to defray out-of-pocket costs for insured patients, an increase from the $100 discount previously offered.
Also on Thursday, CVS Health reported that it would sell the authorized generic version of Adrenaclick, a less-prescribed alternative to the EpiPen. The generic version is made by Impax Laboratories, while Adrenaclick is marketed by its sister company Amedra Pharmaceuticals.
CVS will sell the generic version of Adrenaclick for $109.99 per two-pack for both insured and uninsured patients — about one-fifth the list price of the brand-name EpiPen. Additional discounts may be possible through a $100-off coupon through Impax.
Correction, January 12, 2017:
Cigna is dropping coverage of Mylan's brand-name EpiPen in favor of the drugmaker's authorized generic version of the device. CVS Health is selling Impax Laboratorie's authorized generic version of Adrenaclick, which is nearly $500 cheaper, or a fifth the price of the brand name EpiPen. An earlier version of the story misidentified some of the drugs in question.