Medical Engineers Have Built A EpiPen Replacement That Costs $16 (USD) A Shot

A South African team has created the ZiBiPen, which delivers a shot of adrenaline from a replaceable, $16 (USD) cartridge.

The reusable pen costs $80 and is intended to last five years.

The standard for treating anaphylaxis, the EpiPen, is single use, must be replaced regularly, and is expensive.

A team of South African biomedical engineers have built a cheap replacement for the EpiPen that could revolutionize the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be triggered by food or insect bites.

Called the ZiBiPen, it delivers a shot of adrenaline in the form of a replaceable, $16 cartridge.

“The cost of the pen is $80 (USD) and we are testing to make it last up to five years,” said Gokul Nair, who helped develop it alongside fellow University of Cape Town’s Medical Devices Lab alumnus Giancarlo Beukes.

That is a fraction of the cost of the dominant device on the market, the EpiPen, which sells for $600 (USD) in a pack of 2; lasts only up to 18 months; and can only be used once.

“When we originally did research into the cost of the devices on the market, we found that delays in the distribution chain can mean South Africans only receive their devices with six months before expiry, which made it unaffordable for South Africans,” said Nair, who originally designed it for a master’s project at the Division of Asthma and Allergy at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

The rising cost of the EpiPen has seen a class action lawsuit against manufacturer Mylan. The lawsuit claims the company is engaged in an illegal scheme to dramatically increase the list price, which ten years ago was $88, reported CNBC.

Adrenaline auto-injectors are inserted in the thigh, through the clothes. The shot slows the allergic reaction, buying precious time to get users to a hospital.

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