What We're Reading: Generic EpiPen Cost; Amazon's Medical Software; European Report on Curbing Spending

A generic competitor to the EpiPen will not cost any less than the version that is already on the market; a new service from Amazon will use machine learning to pull key information from patient records; a new report from the European Commission has noted that generic and biosimilar products will be key to curbing wasteful spending in healthcare.

No Savings on Generic EpiPen

A generic competitor to the EpiPen will not cost any less than the version that is already on the market. According to The Hill, Teva’s generic drug will be available in limited quantities for $300, the same price as Mylan’s version. Since 2007, the price of the EpiPen has risen from less than $100 for a pack of 2 injectors to more than $600. Mylan sells an authorized generic for $300. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, has said that bringing more generics to the market will help bring the cost down, but he also acknowledged that the agency cannot control commercial pricing decisions.

Amazon’s New Software Will Mine Patient Records for Data

A new service from Amazon will use machine learning to pull key information from patient records. Amazon Comprehend Medical can pick out and organize information about diagnoses, treatments, medication dosages, and symptoms in order to help providers make treatment decisions, according to TechCrunch. Amazon has said the software complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, and that patient data is encrypted and can only be unlocked by customers who have a key.

European Report Highlights Importance of Generics, Biosimilars

A new report from the European Commission has noted that generic and biosimilar products will be key to curbing wasteful spending in healthcare. The Center for Biosimilars®, a sister site of The American Journal of Managed Care®, reported that nearly one-fifth of health spending is considered wasteful, and in 2016, it was estimated that biosimilars could save up to $113 billion by 2020 in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The report identifies 4 approaches to curb wasteful health spending, including fully exploiting potential savings from generics and biosimilars.