Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

DHHR Reverts to Prescribing EpiPen

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

DHHR Reverts to Prescribing EpiPen

Article excerpt

Despite making the Auvi-Q its preferred epinephrine injector for Medicaid recipients earlier this year, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has been forced to revert to offering the EpiPen after a nationwide Auvi-Q recall. Mylan has manufactured the EpiPen, an epinephrine auto-injector used to treat anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, since 1987. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Auvi-Q, a more compact auto- injector that delivers the same dose of epinephrine.

Unlike the EpiPen, the Auvi-Q includes spoken instructions that guide the user through the injection once the device has been activated.

In January, the DHHR's Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee, under the Bureau for Medical Services, voted to replace the EpiPen with the Auvi-Q on its preferred drug list, and to make the EpiPen available to patients only with prior authorization.

In late March, lawyers for Mylan filed for immediate injunctive relief, which Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman denied, arguing that the Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee had decided to replace the EpiPen with the Auvi-Q, a similar drug, outside of an open meeting.

The West Virginia Public Employees' Insurance Agency and the Children's Health Insurance Program had also both moved to make Auvi- Q the preferred drug for their enrollees. In April, Vicki Cunningham, director of pharmacy services for the Bureau for Medical Services, testified that the Auvi-Q would result in greater savings for the state's Medicaid program and would result in more consistency for children who transition between CHIP and Medicaid.

On Friday, Sanofi U.S., the makers of the Auvi-Q, issued a voluntary recall for all of its injectors currently on the market. In the company's release, it explained that the injectors had been potentially found to release an inadequate dose of epinephrine, the primary drug in both the Auvi-Q and the EpiPen. As of Oct. 26, Sanofi has received 26 reports of suspected device malfunctions in the U. …

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