EpiPen maker Mylan said Monday that it would introduce a generic version of the lifesaving allergy injection at half the price of the brand-name product, after politicians denounced the company for a drug coupon program seen as a public relations Band-aid.

The generic, which the company said will be launched “in several weeks,” will carry a list price of $300 for a two-pack carton. That is half the list price for the branded product, which costs $608 for a two-pack, but it is still nearly $40 more than the price three years ago, according to data from Truven Health Analytics.

“We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of EpiPen to the patient, and have always shared the public’s desire to ensure that this important product be accessible to anyone who needs it,” Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch said in a written statement. “Our decision to launch a generic alternative to EpiPen is an extraordinary commercial response.”

Joshua Sharfstein, a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, called it a face-saving move by the company. The generic offers a way of dropping the price of one version of the drug, while also bringing the company some benefits. It will allow Mylan to segment the market, because some people will continue to buy the brand-name product.

Sharfstein said one important question will be whether the price stays the same over time.

The introduction of Mylan’s generic also won’t automatically open the window to true competition from other generic companies, said Michael Carrier, a professor at Rutgers Law School. Companies can introduce generics of their brand-name drugs, called “authorized generics,” but the effect on competition is ambiguous, he said.

“We have more competition than we did yesterday, but on the other hand, we don’t have wide-open competition among the generics,” Carrier said. “And maybe by having this authorized generic, we’re keeping at bay some of that true competition.”

He noted that when the first generic drug enters the market, it usually gets a very shallow discount off the brand-name list price – maybe 5 percent or 10 percent. It is only when multiple generics enter that deeper discounts occur. The deep initial discount off the brand-name price could make the market less attractive to generics companies.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has been trying to launch a generic version of the drug, but it was rejected by regulators earlier this year for “certain major deficiencies,” according to a spokeswoman. The product launch has been delayed until at least 2017.

Public Citizen, a patient advocacy group, noted that not everyone will get access to the generic, making it an incomplete solution to the high price – similar to the critique leveled at the coupons and patient assistance.

“The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said in a written statement. Mylan “aims to continue ripping off some segment of the marketplace – both consumers who do not trust or know about the generic, and perhaps some insurers and payers constrained from buying a generic.”

He noted that the price in Canada is $200 for a two-pack of EpiPens and the price in France is even lower.