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Big News on Pricing for EpiPens and Alternatives

Big News on Pricing for EpiPens and Alternatives

The band Berlin hit the charts in 1986 with Take My Breath Away, a year before the first epinephrine auto-injector was FDA approved. That device was a game changer, protecting people at risk for life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, which take your breath away by causing swollen throat and tongue, respiratory distress, edema and low blood pressure. They can happen from contact with an allergen such as peanuts, insect bites or chemicals like latex.

In 2007 Mylan acquired the right to sell Epi-Pen, the brand-name epinephrine auto-injector. Since 2007, the price for a two-pack went from $93.88 to $608.61. NBC news reports it costs Mylan about $35!

Thankfully, you can lower the cost. However: 1) to obtain a lower priced, generic Epi-Pen your doctor must write you a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector NOT an Epi-Pen; 2) not all discount coupons deliver what they imply (up to 75% off)—ask what your rate will be; 3) Mylan’s My EpiPen Savings Card has restrictions.

What Discounts Are Available? CVS offers a generic two-pack for under $100; discount coupons are available online from national drugstore chains and places like GoodRx.com. Just Google “Epi-Pen discounts”. For the brand version: Walgreens, RiteAid and others offer Epi-Pen two packs for around $200. Then there’s Auvi-Q. Their Epi-Pen alternative hits shelves this month—free to folks with commercial insurance or with no insurance in households earing less than $100,000. Will insurers and pharmacy benefit managers will go along with the plan? We’ll see. And there’s Mylan’s discount—a two-pack for $300.

Medically reviewed in October 2018.

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