#17: The Guy Making the EpiPen Affordable Again — Blake Anderson

The Epipen is back in the news, but for all the wrong reasons. This week, only a few short months since the consumer and congressional outrage over a 500% price increase on Mylan’s EpiPen, Pharmaceutical company Kaleo released their answer to the anti-allergy giant in the form of Auvi-Q. Touted as an affordable alternative, the product was originally released in 2013 with a similar price tag to the EpiPen. However, the drug was later recalled due to manufacturing problems. This time Auvi-Q hit the market with a price tag of $4,500.00, seven times the current price of the EpiPen.

Kaleo has assured consumers that the high price tag is part of an elaborate effort to subsidize a program aimed at making the drug affordable for everyone. However, while Kaleo executive Spencer Williamson says he is encouraged by the number of insurance plans that he believes are going to cover Auvi-Q, others in the industry are not so optimistic. Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting and author of drugchannels.net, compared Kaleo to Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which is under investigation by Congress, the Justice Department, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Frankly it sounds a lot like a Valeant strategy, where you set a very high list price and you only capture the reimbursement on a very small percentage of prescriptions,” Fein said. “Instead of getting a reasonable price for everything, you are going to get nothing from most of the market and a lot from a very small percentage of the market. It’s almost an outdated strategy that seems designed to invite controversy.” (Forbes)

The Great & Powerful Woz

This is where Blake Anderson and Renco Medical come in. Not only is Renco attacking the pricing structure of epinephrine pens, they’re also redesigning the product. While Auvi-Q was the first to include audio instructions, their instructions are built into the disposable pen for a one-time use. Renco, in an effort to reduce consumer costs and waste, is building the instructions into an ergonomic carrying case, allowing for repeated use over the life of the product. And, a crucial element of the redesign effort is focused on making their injectors more intuitive to use, thereby reducing mistakes when seconds count.

For the initial round of funding, Renco is turning to Indiegogo, launching their first campaign on February 21st. Check it out here.

In this episode we discuss not only what Blake is up to today, we also dig into his backstory, philosophy, and habits for success. Coming from humble beginnings, Blake is a brilliant example of the success that can be achieved through a hard work and hustle lifestyle. It’s clear from listening to him for five minutes that he truly does believe in people over profits, choosing to focus on providing value above all else.


You can find Blake and Renco Medical on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and www.rencomedical.com.

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