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 2019.

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 two-pack.

People with food allergies should have two epinephrine auto-injectors available to them at all times. For children, this might mean needing more than one two-pack. For example, your child may need to keep two auto-injectors at school and two auto-injectors at after-school care. Another set of two typically stays at home. For adults, two auto-injectors may 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. Discuss with your doctor which epinephrine auto-injector device is the right one for your family.

Epinephrine Auto-Injector Savings Programs

*As of May 2019, the EpiPen® and Authorized Generic patient assistance program is being reviewed. 

Other Possible Ways to Save Money

  • 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 Healthcare.gov, or your state’s health insurance site.

  • Switch to the “Preferred” Auto-Injector for Your Plan – 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 two-packs 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 co-pay.

  • 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 medicine for one co-pay. Typically, a two-pack of epinephrine auto-injectors is considered a 30-day supply under your prescription plan. A physician might ask for six auto-injectors (three two-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, February 2017, January 2018, December 2018 and May 2019.

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Comments (32)

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Cynthia, 

No, I haven't called the pharma companies. My pharmacist is great though and he's on top of it. I wanted to see what he came up with first before trying to call pharma companies - that just seems like a runaround waiting to happen! I just found this site though, so I will keep checking back! Thanks!

KristaB, have you tried calling the contact number on the pharma company in question? They may be able to give you a timeline or a coupon that would work.

Also, could you talk to your pharmacist or doctor? They may be able to reach out to their pharmaceutical reps for answers or a coupon, or even samples of some medications.

I know that KFA is awesome about updating all this -- so keep an eye for updates. 

You're right - the pharma company websites aren't updated yet for 2018 and the coupons all expired 12/31/17. I'm trying to fill prescriptions now and don't have a valid coupon! How do I get an updated one?

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.

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