What to Do If You Can’t Afford Epinephrine Auto-Injectors

 

The manufacturers of epinephrine auto-injectors have extended their U.S. savings card programs through 2016.

Epinephrine is the only treatment for a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis
(anna-fih-LACK-sis). It is only available through a prescription by your doctor. Each prescription comes with two auto-injectors in a set.

People with food allergies need two of these auto-injectors with them at all times. For children, this might mean having more than one twin set. For example, the child may need to keep one set at school and one set at after-school care. Another set typically stays at home. For adults, two auto-injectors might be enough.

Here are the updated savings card offers for epinephrine auto-injectors, as well as other ideas to try to save money on drug costs this year. Your final co-pay, if any, may vary depending on your insurance plan and the deductibles for your family.

  • EpiPen 2-Pak® – Mylan Specialty reported on August 25, 2016 that its My EpiPen Savings Card ™ can be used to reduce out-of-pocket expenses up to a maximum of $300 per EpiPen 2-Pak® carton. The card remains valid for up to six two-pack per year. The card is available at epipen.com/copay. Expires Dec. 31, 2016
  • Generic Epinephrine Auto-Injector – Lineage Therapeutics Inc.’s “$0 Co-Pay Savings Card” can reduce the amount of your out-of-pocket expense up to $100 per generic epinephrine auto-injector two-pack. Each savings card can be used for up to three two-packs per prescription. Visit https://webrebate.trialcard.co...n/EpinephrinePortal/ for details and savings card download. Note: Although this savings card does not expire, you must print out a new savings card for each prescription. Every time you access the webpage, the code on the savings card automatically changes. Each unique savings card is valid for just one use.

Other possible money-saving options:

Change Insurance Plans – If you are privately insured through work, see if you can shop around during open enrollment. If your family’s income is below a certain level, you might be offered Medicaid and/or your children might qualify under The Children's Health Insurance Program. This depends on your state. Visit www.healthcare.gov, or your state’s health insurance site. 

Apply for Help – Mylan Specialty (maker of EpiPen) offers a patient assistance program. If your family’s income is below a certain level and you have no prescription coverage or are "underinsured", you can apply for free or reduced cost EpiPens.  

Switch to the "Preferred" Auto-Injector – If you have prescription benefits, you may save on co-pays by agreeing to use the epinephrine auto-injector that is on the insurance "preferred" list. 

Use Mail Order – If you have prescription benefits, look into your plan’s mail order pharmacy options. This may give you a lower price or provide more sets of medication for the same price. Many mail order prescription plans provide patients with a three month’s supply of medication for the cost of two month’s copay.

Talk to Your Doctor – If you have insurance, talk to your doctor. Sometimes they can write the prescription so that you can get more sets of medication for one co-pay. Typically, a twin pack of injectors is considered a 30-day supply under your prescription plan. A physician might ask for six injectors (three twin packs) to be filled at once. This could then be filled through the mail order pharmacy, as described above.

Shop Around – Call around to different pharmacies. Prices can vary, especially between large chain pharmacies and smaller independent pharmacies. Be aware that the pharmacies at club stores such as Costco and Sam’s are generally available to non-members too.

Check with the Local Children’s Hospital – This option may work if your child sees doctors at a major children’s hospital. Ask if they have any grants or patient assistance programs that can help pay for your child’s prescription.

Talk to Your Employer – If you have medical insurance through an employer, contact their human resources department. Explain that your insurance is not covering a life-saving medication for you or your child. Sometimes, if you have a generous employer, they will try to help you.

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Note: On October 28, 2015, all Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injector devices were recalled. Please visit the www.auvi-q.com website for details about the recall and when the devices will become available again.

Originally published January, 2015. Updated January 2016  and August 2016.

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This issue should not only take in account those who have a low income. The issue is that the cost of the epi is exorbitantly and greedily marked up by Mylan! It should be ashamed! The strain of paying for epi twin packs is there for everyone who needs it, and especially for families who have more than one member with life-threatening allergies. Moderate income families are always disregarded.

That's an issue. She's out until I refill hers. The insurance is more lenient with kids. They know the school requires one with the refill tag on it as does the church, one at home and one on her. I keep her epi that stays home in my towel drawer. So kind of a built in back up.
I couldn't believe when I picked up the recent brand refill, it was $600 before insurance.
Stef


Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone
The end of last week, my doctor talked to the insurance. He got me brand epi pens back. But I am still only allowed a two pack every 23 days as their prescription plan does for all drugs. Errrr! Thank goodness my daughter and I use the same dose in epi's now. Doctor said to fill it every 23 days until I get three packs. Then replace as needed.

Stef
I have idiopathic anaphylaxis. I'm told it's a form of a mast cell disorder. All it means is that I can become anaphylactic to anything at anytime. Example- I just had knee replacement surgery. I had been taking my pain medicine less than recommended for about two weeks. When I took it the next time I needed it, I went into anaphylaxis. Another one is sometimes I walk out the door and I go into anaphylaxis. I do have known food allergies, but I avoid them. So anytime, anywhere. My kids have had to give me the epi pen at least five times when I couldn't myself.

Stef

Hi Taric,

Welcome to KFA.  What food allergies do you manage?

A syringe can be an option.  However, in an emergency, it can be difficult to draw up the meds quickly.  I was just talking re that w an er nurse  the other day.  But...still better than not having epinephrine for sure.

Uh, just use a syringe? It's about twenty bucks, medicine included. Seriously, for a family that can't afford food if they purchase an auto-injector, a syringe takes a bit of training and provides the same medicine. Yes, an auto-injector is nice, but not everybody can afford it.

Yes, it would not fire. We tried both pens in the pack and neither would fire. I remembered I had epi pens I refilled in May before insurance made us go generic. I ran and grabbed them. It worked as always. My daughter still has bruises from where we tried to inject the generic pens a week later. I will never trust them again.

Stef

Anyone else having issues with the generic epi not working? We are fighting for the brand so we know it works well for our daughter. She was in a panic when the generic epi wouldn't work. She is so afraid of them now. How can I get her brand if I have insurance? Thank goodness we were home to grab an epi pen I had in the kitchen drawer! 

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