It has been all over the news lately…the rising cost of Epi-Pens. I won’t go into the sordid details on how much they cost to make, or how many raises the CEO of Mylan has given herself over the years. The same years that the Epi-Pen has gone up in price over 500%. The information has been re-hashed over and over again, and a simple Google search will get you the information you need.
In an effort to keep this as short as possible, you can read the history of our journeys into Peanut/Tree Nut allergies Here
We were very fortunate to have had good insurance, and never paid more than $30 for a 2-pack. However, due to job changes, we had to get new insurance, and we now have to pay out of pocket, to the tune of $650 for a 2-pack. Before anyone asked, no, the coupon on the Epi-Pen website does NOT bring it down to $0.00 unless you have a copay under $100. Otherwise, it only takes $100 off of the total, but that’s still $550. I shopped around, and the best I could find was another, much lesser known brand, called Adrenaclick for around $450. Better, but still a lot.
I’ve continued to hunt for the best option/deal, and the cheapest would be to buy a vial of epinephrine and a syringe. Like a 16-year-old boy, or any of his friends, are going to be able to accurately fill the syringe with the correct amount of epinephrine in an emergency? I’m not taking that risk.
I did, however, find an alternative for $144, and I want to share it as far and wide as I possibly can. This will only work through a Walmart or Sams pharmacy. Be prepared to know what you are talking about, as I did have to stress what I was looking for, to get it done correctly. What I got was actually the generic version of the Adrenaclick.
The first thing you need to do is click Here. This will bring you to goodrx.com, and the generic equivalent of Adrenaclick. Print the coupon for the $144 price.
Then, have your doctor issue a new prescription either for Adrenaclick (with substitutions allowed), or for just a general epinephrine injector 2-pack. Our local Walmart pharmacy had to order them for us, but we got them the next day. This is what the box looks like:
First impression upon opening the box is that they are much smaller than the Epi-Pen brand. With it being smaller, it is much lighter, and I think will be much easier for a teenage boy to carry around with him. Epi-Pen on top, generic on bottom:
They are very similar in the way they work, yet different enough that the generic is a different mechanism. First difference is in how the cases open. Epi-Pen flips open at the top, while the generic pulls apart in the middle, into 2 pieces:
Both pens outside of their cases:
As far as how they actually work, the biggest difference is that the Epi-Pen has just one blue cap to pull off, while the generic has 2 blue caps to pull off. Both pens have the instructions on the pens, and the generic also has the directions on the box (I’m assuming Epi-Pen does, too, but I don’t have any of the boxes anymore). One of the first things I noticed, however, is that the generic does not have a tester pen, so no practicing with it before using it!
While $144 is still a lot more than we used to pay, it’s still a heck of a lot better than the $650 for Epi-Pens. Although the CEO of Mylan has issued a $300 coupon for Epi-Pen, it’s not enough. She said they will develop a generic of Epi-Pen, but I’m not sure I caught how much that will be. Please feel free to share this with anyone and everyone who might find it useful. Hopefully, it will help someone who is going without Epi-Pens, or carrying expired pens, to be able to get the Epinephrine they need, as nobody should have to worry about not having the correct medication should they need it.
Edited to add: Thank you to a friend’s information, a trainer pen can be ordered directly from the Lineage Therapuetics website at http://www.epinephrineautoinject.com/index.php. I have now ordered one, free of charge.