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WASHINGTON — The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic competitor to EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. for the emergency treatment of allergic reactions in adults and children.

The company Teva Pharmaceuticals gained approval to market the new generic drug, according to an announcement from the FDA on Thursday.

Brendan O’Grady, executive vice president who heads North America Commercial at Teva, noted in an emailed statement Thursday that the approval “marks an important step forward in bringing our patients additional prescription medications that have met the FDA’s rigorous standards.”

“We’re applying our full resources to this important launch in the coming months and eager to begin supplying the market,” the statement said.

No details are available regarding the cost of the new generic or precisely when it will be available.

‘A lower-cost option’

The approval of the generic drug comes after EpiPens were added to the FDA’s drug shortage list in May and two years after the maker of EpiPen, pharmaceutical company Mylan, increased costs of its product by more than 400{67cfbb0b132a6b5b3ee724f4f3e93544eae70154f8be103048380fa52e4548d8}, leading to public outrage.

The newly approved generic offers an alternative for patients who, until now, have been able to use only the brand-name EpiPen.

EpiPen is an auto-injector that delivers epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline, a hormone that can help relax muscles in the airways and tighten blood vessels. It can open the airways and reduce swelling during a severe allergic reaction.

Epinephrine injection is used along with emergency medical treatment for life-threatening reactions caused by allergies to insect bites or stings, foods, medications, latex or other causes.

(Photo by Dick Loek/Getty Images via Toronto Star.)