Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ask an Expert: A Cheaper Alternative to the EpiPen


This post is part of our “Ask an Expert” blog series. In this post, Ken Majkowski, Pharm.D and Chief Pharmacy Officer at FamilyWize, addresses a common question consumers have when it comes to prescription drugs. Ken brings more than 40 years of healthcare experience to the FamilyWize team, including 14 years of clinical pharmacy experience in retail, hospital, and home care. Read his full bio, here.

It is estimated that 3.6 million Americans carry an EpiPen every day, a pen-shaped device containing epinephrine, which can prevent patients with severe allergies from experiencing a potentially deadly allergic reaction.

In 2016, EpiPens were frequently in the news, as drug company Mylan raised the price of the lifesaving device to over $600 per pen. Public outrage flared after it was pointed out in the media that the auto-injectors have increased in retail price more than 400 percent in recent years, and concern was raised that some people would not be able to access treatment when they need it.

Alternatives to the EpiPen
In response to public outcry, last year Mylan announced that an authorized generic product would be available for half the price of a brand name EpiPen.

But in 2017, patients have an even more accessible alternative. Recently, drugstore chain CVS announced that it would start selling an epinephrine auto-injector for $109.99 per two-pack (before any discounts are applied). This compares to a cash price of $649.99 for EpiPen.

CVS says its epinephrine auto-injector is based on the generic of Impax Laboratories’ Adrenaclick treatment. Adrenaclick, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2003, also administers epinephrine like an EpiPen, but through a slightly different injection.

What Patients Need to Know
If you or someone in your family requires an epinephrine auto-injector, please know that you have options to consider. If your doctor writes you a prescription for an EpiPen and you don’t have insurance or your insurance won’t cover the prescription, ask him or her about more cost-effective alternatives. You can also discuss your options with your pharmacist or your insurance provider.

Regardless of your insurance status or which injector you choose to use, the Free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card may enable everyone to save on their prescription medications. Please check with your pharmacist to verify your savings.

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