Sunday, March 12, 2017

The EpiPen Alternative That Saves You Hundreds of Dollars

The EpiPen Alternative That Saves You Hundreds of Dollars

If you suffer from severe allergies, or have a family member who does, you’re probably already outraged by the high cost of the EpiPen.

But what if we told you that you could get an EpiPen alternative (known as generic Adrenaclick) for as little as $10 for a two-pack – even if you don’t have insurance?

In fact, you may even be eligible for free EpiPen alternatives – depending on your insurance and manufacturer coupons – like a generic EpiPen or AUVI-Q.

It’s time you got the lifesaving allergy protection you need at an affordable price. Read on for the details:

Why Are EpiPens So Expensive?

Over the past several years, the creator of the original EpiPen – a company called Mylan Pharmaceuticals – has been steadily increasing the price of this lifesaving medication.

Even people with health insurance were facing price tags of $600 or more for a two-pack of injectors. And the controversy reached a boiling point last summer, when parents were shocked by the suddenly unaffordable cost of purchasing back-to-school EpiPens for their children.

Public outrage was so strong that Mylan began offering discount coupons, cutting the price of a two-pack down as low as $300. Even so, this was too expensive for many families – especially those who needed multiple packs to keep at home, with the school nurse, and with the supervisors at their children’s extracurricular activities.

What Are Your Options?

Think you’re at the mercy of the pharmaceutical companies and their ever-rising prices? Think again. We’ve put together a list of your best options for epinephrine injectors, and some ways to seriously slash the price tags.

Adrenaclick (generic): $10 at CVS

Right up until Fall 2016, Adrenaclick was EpiPen’s only competitor. The company uses the exact same active medication (the hormone known as epinephrine) and a similar injector mechanism for delivery, but priced their two-packs at just under $300.

That price tag is already more appealing than the EpiPen, but it gets even better. In January 2017, CVS struck a deal to offer generic Adrenaclick at $110 for a two-pack. Combine that with a $100 discount coupon from the manufacturer, and you’re looking at a mere $10 for your lifesaving medicine.

What’s more, you don’t need insurance to take advantage of these rates. In fact, you cannot use the coupon in combination with Medicare/Medicaid or other federal/state insurances. If you are covered under one of these plans, just ask the pharmacist not to run the purchase through your insurance provider. The coupon can also be used in tandem with commercial insurance to lower your co-pay at other pharmacies.

If you are thinking of making the switch from the EpiPen to Adrenaclick, it’s important to note that using the injector will be a little different than you’re used to. Be sure to ask your pharmacist for a quick training session before you go. You can also reference this training video on the manufacturer’s website.

EpiPen (both branded and generic): $300 – $630 (or less with insurance)

After the public outcry about their high pricing, Mylan introduced a generic version of their signature EpiPen alongside the branded version – coming in at $300 for a two-pack.

There is effectively no difference between the generic and branded EpiPens, aside from the fact that your insurance may only cover one or the other. If you are on a commercial health insurance plan, a $25 discount coupon could lower your co-pay to as little as $0.

So is there any reason to still choose the EpiPen over the ultra-affordable generic Adrenaclick? Only in certain circumstances:

Auvi-Q: $360 (or less with insurance)

The Auvi-Q auto-injector is particularly interesting for having voice prompts to help you use it correctly. It first hit the market in 2013, but was recalled by manufacturer Kaleo in 2015 over some potentially dangerous problems relating to dosing.

A new and improved version of the Auvi-Q injector returned to pharmacies nationwide last month, now priced at around $360 for a two-pack. The injector has the advantage of being easy to use, especially for children, and requires no special training.

What’s more, Kaleo offers a discount program to reduce your co-pay to as little as $0 – even if your commercial insurance doesn’t cover the Auvi-Q. Note that those without insurance, or with Medicare/Medicaid or other federal/state insurance, are not eligible for this program – though the uninsured may qualify for free medication through Kaleo’s patient assistance program, depending on their household income.