Dr. Douglas McMahon from the Allergy Asthma Center of Minnesota has created an alternative to the EpiPen that he is trying to make available to the public. McMahon says he’s been working on creating it for many years.
“I actually have severe for allergies myself, so I’ve needed to carry an Epinephrine device for many years. Throughout that process I’ve realized the current device is really big and cumbersome, to the point where I hardly ever carried it,” he said.
McMahon emphasizes the importance of carrying the medicine with you at all times, since severe reactions can be incredibly unpredictable. A few years ago, McMahon began working in his lab where he created a smaller epinephrine device which he calls AllergyStop. McMahon realized how inexpensive the parts and the medicine was, and realized that he could sell it to patients at a very reasonable cost.
Currently, EpiPens are being sold for $600 by Mylan, the company that makes EpiPens. The price has dramatically increased in the past years; in 2007 they were being sold for $57.
McMahon is in the process of raising money to get AllergyStop to the public--which requires millions of dollars.
“It cost an incredible amount of money and time and effort,” McMahon said. “I have a patent on my device and one of these advisors says, ‘It probably doesn’t even matter because it’s so hard to take a product to market, you really won’t have any competitors.’”
In order to pass FDA standards, McMahon needs to take AllergyStop through “human factor” studies. These tests will ensure that the medicine inside the device stays sterile and potent for a certain amount of time. During these tests, it’s also exposed to heat, cold and sunlight. McMahon states that the testing will cost around $2 million. He’s in the process of taking bids from manufacturers to produce AllergyStop.
McMahon says that companies like Mylan have lost focus of the patients who really need this medicine and are rather focusing on investors. He believes this to be the reason why the EpiPen’s price has drastically increased over the years.
“I’m a patient that uses this device and I would describe this device, so I know both sides of the field,” McMahon said.
McMahon started a fundraising campaign approximately a month ago using Indiego.com, but funding hasn’t been coming quickly. He has plans to make AllergyStop available to investors but hopes that he doesn’t run into problems with investors wanting to raise the price from $50.