Good news: Now you can get an EpiPen alternative known as generic Adrenaclick for as little as $10 for a two-pack at CVS—and you don't need insurance to get it.
What's more, there are other alternatives such as generic EpiPen and Auvi-Q—a third competitor soon back on the market— that you can get for free, depending on your insurance and manufacturer coupons.
EpiPen's manufacturer, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, has steadily increased the price of a two-pack over several years to $600 or more—even for people with insurance. The sharply higher price shocked parents last summer when they went to buy EpiPen devices for their children for the new school year.
The public furor over the cost of this lifesaving—and once affordable—medication for severe allergy reactions prompted Mylan to offer discount coupons in August that cut the EpiPen price down to $300 per two-pack. For some families—especially those who needed more than one EpiPen pack to protect their kids during severe allergy attacks—that price was still way too high.
Read on for are all the details to get the lifesaving allergy protection you need now--at a much lower price.
Adrenaclick (generic): $10 at CVS
Up until this fall, generic Adrenaclick has been the single competitor to EpiPen. Using the exact same drug (epinephrine) and similar technology to inject the drug yourself, it had been priced at just under $300 for a two-pack.
Then, through a deal with the manufacturer, CVS was able to lower the price to $110 last month. Apply a $100 discount coupon from the drug's manufacturer, and that will get you to a final price of $10. You can buy up to three two-packs at that price with a prescription.
Best of all, no insurance is needed. The deal won't work if you try to use the coupon with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal or state insurance. If you are covered by any of those, simply instruct the pharmacist to not run the purchase through your insurance.
If there is no CVS near you, you can still use the $100 coupon to lower your co-pay at other pharmacies if you have commercial insurance. That could get your payment to zero.
If you aren't insured and don't live near a CVS, the $100 coupon can be applied to the full price of generic Adrenaclick, which we've seen hover around $200 or so at Walgreens and Rite-Aid on GoodRx.com. The coupon would get your final price to around $100.
Important to know: Our medical experts recommend that anyone switching to generic Adrenaclick ask for a training session on how to use the injector before leaving the pharmacy. They should also refer to the training video on the manufacturer's website.
EpiPen: $300 to $630, or Free With Insurance
Mylan introduced its generic version of EpiPen in December after the public outcry over the company's $600-plus price tag for a two-pack of branded EpiPen (which was a 500 percent price hike since 2007). Mylan priced its two-pack generic version at $300.
There is no difference between the branded and generic versions of EpiPen, although your insurance may only cover one or the other.
If you have commercial insurance, a $25 discount coupon could lower your copay to zero, depending on your insurance coverage.
The coupon, however, won't work for anyone trying to use it in conjunction with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal or state insurance.
For those without insurance, use a coupon from GoodRx.com—this could lower your price for the two-pack generic EpiPen to around $200 at Walgreens or RiteAid.
The branded version of EpiPen is still available and still expensive, ranging anywhere from $630 to more than $700 for a two-pack, according to prices listed at GoodRx.com.
So who would still want to use branded EpiPen instead of generic Adrenaclick? If you have commercial insurance and it only covers EpiPen, you could apply a manufacturer discount co-pay coupon that will knock off up to $300 off from your out-of-pocket costs for a two-pack.
And, there are some who could get EpiPen for free: Mylan offers free EpiPens through its patient assistance program for uninsured and underinsured patients with a household income of less than $97,400 for a family of four.
(This week, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into whether Mylan acted illegally to block EpiPen competition, including a lower-cost generic epinephrine auto-injector, thereby violating anti-trust laws.)
Auvi-Q: $360 or Free With Insurance
Auvi-Q, an auto-injector that features voice prompts to guide its use, was first available in 2013 but was taken off the market in 2015 because of potentially dangerous dosing problems. But it will be returning to drugstores with those problems addressed, according to Kaleo, the manufacturer, in mid-February for about $360 for a two-pack.
The good news is that whether you have commercial insurance that covers Auvi-Q or not, Kaleo offers a discount program to reduce your copay to zero.
That program won't work for people with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal or state insurance. Or for anyone who is not insured. You'll face the $360 charge for a two-pack. Once the product is released, you may want to check out GoodRx.com for possible further discounts.
If you earn less than $100,000 and are uninsured, you may qualifiy to get Auvi-Q for free through Kaleo's patient assistance program.
One reason you may want to seek out the Auvi-Q auto-injector is because you need no training to use it. That can be especially helpful for children.
"I prefer Auvi-Q because it talks you through administering it, which is great for caregivers, teachers, or even strangers who may need help during an emergency,” says Jenny Sprague, of Gray, Maine, the mother of 7- and 11-year-old sons who both have food allergies.
Kaleo told Consumer Reports that the company addressed the earlier Auvi-Q recall by investing heavily in “manufacturing improvements and enhanced quality checks.”
Editor's Note: This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multistate settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin).
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