Trending News Today: Generic Version of EpiPen to Launch Next Week

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Mylan is offering a generic version of its EpiPen that will cost half the price of its branded option, according to The New York Times. The generic version will begin to reach retail pharmacies next week, and will cost $300 for a 2-pack. These potential savings will depend, in part, on a patient’s insurance and their qualifications for discount and assistance programs, the Times reported. The generic product launch follows outrage over the severe increase in cost of more than 500% for the EpiPen since 2007, when Mylan bought the rights to the drug.

In head-to-head analyses, investigators discovered 2 widely-used genetic tests of tumors frequently do not arrive at the same conclusions, and physicians should not assume that these tests provide a complete picture of the tumor’s genetic variants. The FoundationOne test is used on tissue samples extracted from tumors, and the Guardant360 test gathers traces of tumor DNA from blood samples, according to NPR. Despite the varying results, the 2 tests themselves are technically not flawed, but each test has individual limitations. The investigators stressed that the overarching message from the study is that physicians should not believe that the tests provide definitive results, and they need to understand the limitations, NPR reported. “If you don’t understand these limitations, if you just treat the reports at face value that could be leading to instances where oncologists use drugs that are unlikely to be effective” said investigator Dr Anthony “Tony” Blau in the report.

The year-long investigation into Flint, Michigan’s water crisis, was quietly closed by congressional Republicans, reported The New York Times. In letters to fellow Republicans, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said that Michigan state officials and the Environmental Protection Agency were slow to detect high-levels of lead in the drinking water, and failed to act quickly enough once the problem was discovered. The water became tainted after the city switched from the Detroit water system, and instead began to draw from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money, according to the Times. Regulators did not ensure that the water was treated properly, and lead from the aging pipes leaked into the water supply. Last week, Congress cleared legislation to provide $170 million to deal with the Flint crisis, and to help other communities with lead-tainted water, the Times reported.