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

 

The manufacturers of epinephrine auto-injectors have extended their U.S. savings programs through 2017.

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 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.

  • AUVI-Q® – Kaléo is making its epinephrine auto-injector available through its AffordAbility™ program. AUVI-Q is available free of charge to patients with a household income of less than $100,000 who do not have government or commercial prescription drug coverage. The company said those with commercial insurance, including those with high-deductible plans, will be able to obtain AUVI-Q for $0 out-of-pocket. Kaléo said the $0 out-of-pocket cost will also apply to those whose insurance will not cover the cost of AUVI-Q. Order directly from Kaléo by giving the enrollment formDownload PDF to your doctor. Call 1-877-30-AUVI-Q for questions about eligibility.

  • EpiPen 2-Pak® – Use the Mylan Specialty My EpiPen Savings Card® 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-packs per year. The card is available at epipen.com/copay. Expires Dec. 31, 2017. If your family’s income is below a certain level and you have no prescription coverage, you can apply for free or reduced cost EpiPens.

  • Authorized Generic for EpiPen® (epinephrine injection, USP) Auto-Injector - Visit MyGenericEAI.com for a $25 savings card. It can be used for up to three two-packs per prescription. The card is good through Dec. 31, 2017. Mylan offers a direct ship program for patients at a cost of $300. Those interested can call 844-357-3969 for further information and assistance.

  • 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. Download the savings cardDownload PDF for details. 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.

    In addition, CVS Health is selling these generic epinephrine auto-injectors at all CVS Pharmacy locations at a cash price of $109.99 for a two-pack.

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.

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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Originally published January, 2015. Updated January 2016 , August 2016, December 2016, January 2017 and February 2017.

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The doctor said he did not know about the problem. Keep calling around. Apparently, Epi pens were recalled about three weeks ago. The pharmacies I spoke to will not sell epi pens until the new, post recall, pens have been sent to them. They do not want the liability. If you need an epi at this time, call 911.

Stef
I can't get a cost. My CVS says all epi's are recalled. Mine expires in May, but can't get any replacements. I'm told none are available.

Anyone know if the expiration date can be stretched? I can't be without an epi, but can't replace it according to the pharmacy.

Stef

My insurance company sent me a letter saying they no longer cover Mylan Epi-pens as of next month, but supposedly they cover the generic.  I looked up their formulary list.  They cover Auvi-Q at 80%, which is worse than paying full price for the Mylan Epis.  They don't cover Adrenaclick.  In theory, they cover the Mylan generic.  I'll have to leave extra time in August when I attempt to pick up the school's epis for pharmacist-allergist phone tag.  GoodRx lists the prices of your various options at pharmacies near your location.

Apparently Express Scripts has decided that both the Mylan generic Epi and the Lineage Therapeutics epinepherine injector are "branded" medication rather than generic.  Spoke with multiple customer service folks as well as one of their "pharmacists" and they are telling me no generic epinepherine auto-injectors exist although they are pushing me to the Mylan generic.  The insurance coverage is of course significantly higher for generics but only if they treat a generic as a generic.  Getting the Mylan generic will raise my costs to $75 a two pack from free on the branded version due to co-pay coupons.

Sabine - will the cover a different generic epinephrine autoinjector? You
doctor has to specifically write the prescription for the generic ones.
Otherwise, the pharmacy has to dispense the brand name.

Im having problems finding an insurance company that will except the epi pens I have a deathly allergy to tomatoes and chocolate and sodium nitrates the Medicare and blue cross I have do not cover the epi pens at all so I'm stuck any advice you guys could give would be an amazing help thank you 

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! 

Kids With Food Allergies
A Division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
4259 W Swamp Rd, Suite 408, Doylestown, PA 18902
Phone: 215.230.5394 | Fax: 215.340.7674
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