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EpiPen alternatives to save hundreds of dollars

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 6:22 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 08:25:31-04

UPDATED 8/25/16:

One day after we reported this story, Mylan Pharmaceuticals announced a new price break, due to public and Congressional pressure.

The company will now offer $300 vouchers through its website, effectively cutting the price in half for many patients.

However, the controversy over its soaring cost continues, and critics say the underlying problem of soaring prescription costs has not lessened.

ORIGINAL WEDNESDAY REPORT:

The price of a life-saving EpiPen has skyrocketed in 2016. That's putting people with severe allergic reactions --especially children -- at risk.

That's left Heather Bresch perhaps one of the most despised people in America right now. She is the $18 million dollar a year CEO of the drug manufacturer Mylan, which has raised the price of life saving EpiPens 400 percent in recent years.

Now Congress is getting involved, with Iowa Senator Charles Grassley and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal demanding the company explain the price hikes, and make the drug more affordable.

Mom Struggles to Pay

Holly Lahner is a Tri-State mom struggling to pay for EpiPens for her schoolage children in Northern Kentucky.

 

"I think it's a crime, because this is a life saving drug," she said. "I have two children who both have allergies and for me to purchase the six EpiPens they needed, it was $3,000."

She ended up buying just half of the pens prescribed -- for just over a thousand dollars --- and is hoping she can find another option soon.

WATCH John Matarese's initial report on parents struggling to afford EpiPens

 

 

 

Money Saving Alternatives

Some good news: it turns out there are some alternatives available, even though the one generic version was pulled from the market two years ago due to too many malfunctions.

Unfortunately, these alternatives are not for everyone.

Our partners at Consumer Reports Magazine say doctors can prescribe another kind of auto-injector that can cost hundreds of dollars less.

Generic Auto-Injector

Lisa Gill of Consumer Reports explained "for a lot less money, the epinephrine auto-injector, also called generic Adrenaclick, uses the exact same drug in the exact same dosing as EpiPen."

Using a GoodRx coupon, you could get it for as low as $140 at Walmart or $205 at Rite-Aid.

But Consumer Reports says you have to ask your doctor for a specific prescription for an "epinephrine auto-injector" or "generic Adrenaclick."

Consumer Reports also says if you switch devices, don’t wait until you need the Adrenaclick to learn how to use it.

Each injector requires a different set of instructions, so make sure you know how to properly use it before leaving the pharmacy.

Individual Syringe Option

Some patients now cut costs even more by filling manual syringes with epinephrine themselves, for less than $50.

However, you need training on how to use medical syringes. In addition, doctors say it can be a dangerous getting the exact amount of medicine, and it cannot be done in most schools.

Northern Kentucky mom Holly Lahner said "no I cannot, nor would I feel safe with them carry a syringe like that."

So for now she is paying $600 a kit, for something that was just 50 bucks less than a decade ago.

As always, don't waste your money.

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