In my post onÂ Detoxing for Allergy Relief, I shared my allergy history and issue with allergic anaphylaxsis. Since I was diagnosed in my 20’s, I’ve carried around an EpiPen.
My pen had expired awhile ago and recently I went to get my prescription filled for a new one. I was shocked and dumbfounded that this is now only available in a 2-pack!
Previously I could buy a single EpiPen. I don’t recall the exact cost but I think the co-pay was around $25 and I don’t know how much insurance paid.
One of our readers shared that there may be coupons available that may help with your cost. Â Auvi-q, the new talking epinephrine injector, & epi pen both have coupons on their web sites for free epinephrine. Go to:Â http://www.epipen.comÂ &Â Â http://www.auvi-q.com/Â toÂ see what coupons are currently available.
Even at $25, I hated spending money for something I hoped to never use. But, I figured it was a necessary evil in case I would have an allergic reaction. And I have used it on occasion – probably four or five times in my life and I am grateful that I could stow one in my purse and have it available when I need it.
Assuming the average EpiPen has a lifespan of one to one and a half years, I am guesstimating that means I have bought approximately 15 to 18 pens in my life. Having used four or five, that means at least 10 had expired before they could be used – so they were just disposed of.
Well now I mustÂ purchase two at a time and most times (I hope), I end up tossing out these EpiPens without needing to use them.
Then, imagine my surprise when the pharmacy tech told me that my cost for the two pens was $250; insurance had only paid about $100. I asked if I could just buy one.
No, not an option.
I looked at the expiration date of one year and two months and asked if they had any with a longer shelf life. I rarely needed to use them and they would most likely just go to waste.
No, that was all they had.
Clearly, he has had this conversation with plenty of other consumers. So he asks me if I still want it. My comment to the pharmacy tech was, “What a racket, no I don’t really want it but I’d like to have it if I need it!”
I wonder how many of his customers have said no and skip the prescription!Â The cost of one is a lot for many people, and now they are forced to buy two!
Now, I do understand why they might want people to have two EpiPens on hand. The convenience would most likely mean they will have it available when needed. Keep one at home and one at work, etc.
But then, IÂ found this press release from Mylan (makers of EpiPen)… and President Heather Bresch explains,
“Many people may not be aware that recent food allergy guidelines state that patients at risk for or who have experienced anaphylaxis should have immediate access to two doses of epinephrine. The decision to exclusively offer the EpiPen 2-Pak, which contains two single EpiPen Auto-Injectors, aligns with these guidelines, as well as with the 2011 World Allergy Organization . . . ”
OK – so it may not be all about convenience, but may be life-saving for the 20% that just might need two doses of epinephrine due to an anaphylactic reaction. So the other 80% who will only need to take one dose, must buy two just in case.
If you’ve ever had a reaction, you know this isn’t anything to fool around with. My doctor had always recommended going to the hospital even after having injected myself in case a second dose was required. I also learned to always carry Benadryl with me, which I never thought would save me, but a doctor had told me it could provide some relief from the itching and slow the reaction down.
My opinion is that taking away the single-dose option will cost more lives since many people may not be able to afford the 2-pack.
By all means keep the 2-Pack as an option at a discounted price for those consumers that have the severest of reactions and like the convenience, but please don’t decide what is best for me. My wallet thinks it would be best to have the single EpiPen option available too. More consumers, especially the 80% that only require one dose, will be able to afford this option.
What to do if you can’t afford the EpiPen?
Other than the obvious of avoiding the allergens, there isn’t a whole lot you can do if you suffer from anaphylaxsis and can’t afford the EpiPen. You can hope and pray you don’t have an attack. My suggestion would be to reach out to the politicians in your area to express your concern. I would also buy some Benadryl to have on hand which may help if it is a less severe reaction. Please be aware though thatÂ Benadryl may not help you at all, and it is not a substitute for the EpiPen.
While researching this topic, I came across a study about theÂ Regional differences in EpiPen prescriptions in the United States: the potential role of vitamin D.Â It seems that there are more EpiPen prescriptions in the Â northern states that in the southern states. The highest prescription rate was in the New England area.
The thinking is that the Vitamin D status may be a contributing factor since it is well known that the northern states population typically have a greater Vitamin D deficiency. So another consideration might be to supplement with Vitamin D.Â Ultimately, the ideal situation would be that everyone who needs an EpiPen could afford one.
Not sure that ObamaCare is going to make that happen… What are your thoughts?
I had a similar experience! I had a “near anaphalactic” reaction to cumin after a lifetime of eating (and enjoying) cumin laced foods. I also have autoimmune hypothyroid, so I blame my hyperactive immune system. My insurance gives me a *discount* but doesn’t cover another dime until I meet a $3500 deductible. Which is why I didn’t end up going to the emergency room. I almost fell over when they told me the epipens would cost me $287. Needless to say, I left without an epipen that day. I have one now, but I hate to think about the people who really REALLY need them and struggle to pay. An epipen could be the difference between a life threatening and life taking allergic reaction for some people. I think it’s a sad state of affairs that anyone should have to seriously think, “can I afford an ER visit”. I believe there may now be a generic “epinephrine autoinjector” available.
Since my reaction, I’ve been avoiding the foods I tested positive for with a skin test. I still have days when I am more sensitive and days when I am not. I have also been taking Turmeric and Ginger to reduce inflammation. This has allowed me to completely eliminate my use of Aleve and Aspirin for pain. I still take acetaminophen for the occasional migraine. With the rising cost of health care, I’m seeking natural ways to improve my health as an alternative. So, my allergy storm cloud has a silver lining!
Thanks for sharing Tracy! These days, so many people have a large deductible of $2,500 or more that typically don’t meet it, and so the cost of necessary prescriptions is completely out of pocket. Glad you were able to get an EpiPen eventually! Good for you that even though you had a severe allergy to the spice cumin, you had the guts to try turmeric and ginger supplements for inflammation! And more importantly, they work for you! You might consider Curamin for your migraines. The link here is for a trial size and I know it has helped some! May not work though if your migraines are hormone-related though. Best!
My allergies seem to be to seeds in general, cumin, dill seed, and fennel seed. Turmeric and ginger are rizomes, so I felt safe using them. I take both turmeric and Curamin to get the whole herb benefits along with the concentrated extract benefits! I have not seen a change in migraines, but they are normally hormone or weather related. I’ve noticed my allergic reactions vary from day to day. Something like a mosquito bite may swell the size of a 50 cent piece one week and respond normally the next. I just try to be prepared for any reaction that might come my way.
Aha! My sister is also allergic to cumin & dill. Yes, rhizomes are completely different than seeds – sounds like you’ve done your research! There is a homeopathic, Weather Changes by King Bio, that helps some with weather-related issue and migraines you might take a look at. As far as hormone-related migraines, a GLA supplement such as Black Currant Oil, 500mg taken daily can help too!
Wow…..and this is the “change” Obama had made…and watch him do more blame game..Especially his Obamacare..He will always say:”someone is held accountable”..how many times he said that, whenever there’s a crisis and nothing happen. I feel that now middle class are now suffering on having to pay for more on health insurance that they can’t afford, and especially young college students, who are trying to make ends meet. Before insurance cost like $40 to around $60 a month for a single person. Now it cost four to five times more to pay a month for health insurances. You think medication cost more now?, wait till the end of this year is over…My daughter have peanut allergy too! But when it comes to gov. healthcare, it’s like holding us hostage, and force feeding us with more problem for our health, instead of having different private health insurance do business with us with a more lower cost comparison, especially with a more safe and private secure website. Obamacare website is a joke and ask for all your personal private information. Like your bank account for a start..That’s going too far…
So what does a company’s product packaging have to do with Obama again? The “joke” on you is how the Republicans, the Tea Party and their propaganda wing, Fox News, have convinced people who won’t do their own homework that every single problem they have is Obama’s fault. So, keep on hating and being angry, Ruby. Your life won’t get any better with a presidential change, I assure you. But if it makes you feel better, sure, blame Obama that you have to buy two epipens.
The simple truth is that for many people, one epi injection simply isn’t enough to stop a full-blown allergy attack – I know because we penned my 6 year old son twice in the back of an ambulance last year on the way to the ER. So, would you rather have a fatality, or have a second epipen at the ready? It ain’t Obama’s fault. Get over it, and get on with your life.Time’s ticking, and it is just too precious to spend so angry.
No, it may not be Obummers fault that EpiPens now only come in two packs. But it is his fault that he has forced our insurance to skyrocket with less coverage and deductibles we cannot afford. I was recently told I needed EpiPens. At a cost of 332.65 I told the pharmacist I really had to think about it, while putting my health at risk. More and more people are having to make the same choice. I Do put all that blame on him. His so called affordable care act has about broke this household.
Wow reality checker! You were just waiting in the wings to jump on someone! Blah blah blah “obama is so great” blah blah blah “obama has really made thing so much better! “If you can’t tell you MUST be a republican” Blah blah blah. Reality checker your not living everyones day to day life so stop being a jerk to other people’s opinions. Wonderful if you seen the “change” that’s supposedly going on around us and it working in your favor. Some of us are getting the crap end of the stick. And we can say it just as you can. Even if someone doesn’t agree with your political views we still have a say (i think, or do we have to submit that in writing for approval and if it’s not Obama will give us the correct response. And for a penalty) anyway I hope you have a great day and everything keeps getting better and better for you. Also wonder why you can’t make these type of post with your real name? Reality check, your not being real.
Dee & jacque…… your ignorance would be comical if it wasn’t so damn sad!! fact checker is correct. maybe you should do some research before you go posting your ignorance as intelligence. the things you have said in blaming Obama, is almost word for word what some quack said on late night CNN… you’re not even posting your own opinion, your posting someone else’s that you adopted. if you don’t have the time to read and educate yourself on the facts, you should keep your mouth shut!!… either that or move back to Germany you Nazi’s
I’m afraid that you are misinformed. I’ve been practicing at a huge hospital in Los Angeles for over 30 years. The Affordable Care Act had nothing to do with insuring the 16 million Americans who didn’t have health care. approximately 1/3 of them were young folks who choose not to cover themselves. The reason that the democratic congress wanted to have universal health care was so that the government would have control of 1/9th of the economy, which is the amount of money spent on health care in this country. The reality is that citizens like you and I will receive less amount and quality of care and end up spending much more money in the long run and we will have civilian boards deciding if you are eligible for certain procedures, and not your doctor deciding which is best for you.
I am not a huge Obama fan, but WE need to stop blaming the government and others for everything that happens. Get out and vote, write your representatives, and contact the pharmaceutical companies that make it so hard to purchase medications at a reasonable price. It is forums like this that make a difference.
Let’s start finding solutions to a problem that many face. The more we stick together, the stronger we are as a country. The people who don’t have your best interest love the blame game, especially if they can distract you by changing the subject. Let’s find a solution!
Please this must buy 2 epi-pens is NOT IN ANY WAY related or due to Obama or obamacare! Geeze, please research before you make unintelligent comments. I was made to buy a 2 epi-pen back in 2004 or 2005. Heck it may have been 2006-7? So don’t just say it is due to obamacare! It is simply nothing more than a marketing gimmic by the drug company to make more money. God even a 16 year old could use common sense in that deduction.
when did insurance ever cost 40-60 /month! Neber!
Jeeze, peopl! My poop floats, it s. obamas fault. Hysteria! My poop won’t float! It’s Obamas fault. You anti Obama folks are sounding like paid shills. The better get you all a new script to use, cause this ones wearing mighty thin!
I just spoke with Express Scripts yesterday. Their representative was very helpful, but he couldn’t tell me why my insurance plan classifies Epi-pen as a “lifestyle” drug. The cost at my pharmacy this week was $495. My plan covers none of that, however, they did negotiate a $60 discount and ordering it through Express Scripts, instead of the local pharmacy, brings another $35 off the price. The online coupon is only good for $100 off and it expires 12/31/2014.
I was told that there is no generic alternative, but I see that isn’t true. Our drug plan just put a cap on maximum out of pocket for drugs, but the “lifestyle” drugs don’t seem to count towards that maximum. I looked up the definition of lifestyle drugs and they are for non-life threatening treatments.
I tried to buy Epi-Pen in my closest pharmacy AVC Big Pine on the key’s island were I live and they said it was almost US$ 600.00!!!!! I didn’t buy and another point it is only good for one year, due date 12 months, if I have a shock, I will call 911 and let they do it, my husband and I paid for many years insurance, I still pay for the 20% Medicare and State Farm, a medicine with a price like this is stealing. Like my Advair that I use in daily basis and I buy in Brazil for 28 Dollars, check how much it coast here ;-((
Just an FYI, Auvi-q, the new talking epinephrine injector, & epi pen both have coupons on their web sites for free epinephrine. Go to: http://www.epipen.com & http://www.auviq.com to print the coupons. You can get up to 3 two pack with $0 copays!
The other reason 2 packs are now more common is because, unfortunately, one of the injectors can be defective & malfunction. Better to be safe than sorry!
Thanks AnnMarie for sharing! That will certainly help some people who have a tough time coming up with the copay. It is only up to $100 benefit but that is still huge!.
Malfunction is a good reason for the 2-pack. Still though, it would be great to offer the ability to purchase one for those cash-paying customers that can’t afford the 2-pack. Better to have one EpiPen, than none.
I have needed an epi injection 4 times in the last 30 years; the last episode just 2 weeks ago. With no insurance coverage, I can not afford the allergy testing which was advised, nor can I afford the cost of the now 2 epi pens which in our area is $409.00 at the lowest priced pharmacy which happens to be Costco.
I had to make a decision whether to purchase the two pack at the high price or carry Benadryl so that I can reach medical care. A hard choice, with my children disagreeing, but I have elected the Benadryl. Like I said, just two weeks ago, I went to a “doc in a box” where I was charged $123 for the new patient visit, $42 for the injection, and .75 for the epi injectable. Yes, that is right .75! Most insurance companies would have bundled the $42 fee into the visit and only allowed the .75 for the epinephrine. Yet, I won’t complain because for a total of $165.65, I received medical attention and an epi injection!
My budget doesn’t lie. If there is no money, there is no money. The cost is great if I don’t make it to medical attention in time, but a decision that had to be made none-the-less. I can not afford Obamacare. I feel most of our country is feeling similar pressures with hard decisions to make.
I hear you Rhonda. We recently got a prescription of epipen for my daughter from the doctor and we are still trying to figure out what to do given the high cost. My company’s insurance plan has a $6500 deductible so 1 pack of epipen (2 pens) costs $430 out of my pocket. Even with the $100 off coupon we still have to come up with $330 for that. I wish there’s an one pen option. The sole reason that the company doesn’t give people the option of buying 1 pen is greed and greed alone.
Per Annmarie’s comment and would welcome any and everyone’s opinion here…If we have to pay x amount for 2 Epi’s bc one may malfunction, then shouldn’t we get a refund if said Epi did? Maybe it’s wishful thinking but over $300 is a lot of bread in my household to be paying for a possibility…
I was excited about this coupon until I took it to pick up my auvi-q (for my infant) and was told no insurance covers it as of 2014. With the coupon it’s $400+ Sadly that coupon is not much help now. Anyone know why insurance won’t cover a live saving medication???
We have no insurance, and my wife needed an Epipen for our 4 week overseas trip next week. Every pharmacy in town wanted $390-$400, but Walgreens sold it for $380, plus with their savings program (for $20) that knocked $40 off the price. So with the coupon and discount she paid $240 (plus $20 for the discount program). Still ridiculously overpriced, but better than the $400 other places wanted.
So you can afford a 4 week overseas vacation plus the fine for not purchasing health insurance, but somehow the cost of an epi pen is ridiculous?
I should have mentioned that we used miles and points to pay for the flights, hotels, and trains. The only thing we paid for was food, and in SE Asia we were paying less than we would have back home in the US. We would never have been able to afford it otherwise.
My insurance wouldn’t cover the Epi-pen brand (was going to cost over $500 for the 2-pack!) but does cover Auvi-Q (ended up around $42 after the $100 coupon from the drug company). I thought that was weird – our old insurance covered the Epi-pen, but even then, the cost was going up and up.
The pharmacy said that the insurance didn’t include Epi-pen in their formulary but did list Auvi-Q. I think it must just depend on each insurance company, but it definitely pays to ask until you get the answer!
I must buy these pens for my step son as well. He is allergic to peanuts and has had at least four incidents where he ate food that contained nuts or nut oils which caused him to stop breathing and required the epi pen. He is alive today because of it. Anyway he went to the ER yesterday from school for consuming something that had nuts on the bottom of the food that he didn’t see. I went to get the replacement epi-pen, and I do remember my wife’s insurance charging us $100 copy for it I think it was. Well, United Healthcare, which I have, actually paid something like $263 of the cost, and only charged me $35. Then I found the coupon on the website which paid my copay. If my insurance wasn’t going to cover it at all, I did notice the pharmacy had prefilled epi syringes for $35 for 5 of them. At school they will need the auto injector for sure. But for at home, and for him to carry, I am considering getting the pre-filled syringes. It is very easy to give an injection, I could teach everyone at home, including him how to use these. You would simply remove the cap, stab the needle into a muscle – arm, leg, or buttocks all will work, and depress the plunger. Our pharmacy also sells 10 needles for like $2.50 (I know this because I have to give my dog ivermectin injections). They sell these without prescription in Ohio. I could use these on a doll or dummy to train everyone. I am sure that in the poorer countries, this is probably the only type of epinephrine that people can afford. Just thought I’d put that idea out there, I know people are afraid of needles and shots and they want it all automatic, but if there is no money, maybe this is an option.
Scott, thank you for sharing this! In the pharmacy I’ve gone to it was not apparent that pre-filled syringes were an option. That is certainly a much more affordable option for some that are comfortable using a syringe.
It seems that the problem is that the more and more popular HSA healthcare insurance plans do not allow you to get much of a discount on medications. Therefore, I still paid $245 for the two-pack epipen with the $100 discount coupon from the Epipen company. In the previous year the same coupon covered my entire cost of the Epipen because we had a better discount for prescription medications. Each of my children need an epipen at school, separate one for any other after school activities so that doubles the cost for each child. I have to spend at least $500 now for something that didn’t cost anything with the copay coupon before.
I feel like medication is all crazy right now. My daughter’s epi pen with insurance is now more than I used to pay when I had no insurance. My son has mental health issues and his medications have not changed in the last 6 months. Yet the price has changed every month. I has been $26 dollars for copay one month, then $100 then it went down to $35 and yet this month it was $10. It makes me wonder if the price I would pay for the epi pen would drop. However since this is a life saving medication it is not like we can just wait till the price is lower to get it.
I also noticed intranasal epinephrine for sale at our pharmacy (Discount Drug Mart). The cost is about $30 without insurance. I may ask the doctor about getting an rx for this instead also.
Another potential great option if it’s available at your pharmacy! I would assume it works just as well as an epi-pen; I would personally probably want to do a little research on it. But, definitely worth purchasing if someone does not have insurance and cannot afford the 2-pack.
Thank you Scott – your suggestions could be a life saver for someone!
I just got home from the pharmacy in tears. My daughter is severely allergic to eggs, peanuts, latex and bee and wasp stings. So her Epi pen is a must. A few years ago I had no prescription insurance and her Epi was 85 dollars for a 2 pack. Last year it was 210 dollars. Tonight before insurance it was 346!!!! Now she has insurance and I only had to pay $54 dollars but when a few years ago I was 30 dollars more than that without insurance it seems insane. Thankfully my daughter is pretty good at avoiding her allergens except the insect stings those silly bees.
Thanks for sharing Jennifer. It is truly amazing how the cost has gone up so drastically for something that is so vital for many with allergens. To my knowledge, the drug hasn’t changed over the years (but I am not a pharmacist so it’s possible) so I can’t think they would be putting more research into it. My understanding that is where the bulk of the cost is in drugs – in the research. Glad to hear your daughter has insurance to make it much more affordable for her!
I actually think the cost hasn’t gone up, our insurance companies were paying it for us while we only paid small copay. Now with deductibles we see it
For the last 8 or 9 years, with insurance, I had paid no more than $40 out of pocket for EpiPens for my daughter, who has a peanut allergy. This year, the cost — with a $100 coupon applied — is $280. I see from this thread it’s a common price shock. Blue Cross / Blue Shield said they will cover 0% of an EpiPen. Can you plead medical necessity to BCBS to get some sort of coverage?
I know this is an old post, but I highly recommend having the pharmacy look into into it and/or calling the insurance company directly. In our case, the cost for the Epi-pen was going to be crazy high, and I almost would have walked away without getting it but was directed to talk to a pharmacy tech about it. She typed a bit into the computer and found that BCBS no longer lists Epi-pen in their formulary but they do list Auvi-Q (same medication, different packaging). So I just called the doctor to get a new prescription called in, and we were able to get the Auvi-Q for around $42 (after using the co-pay discount card on their website).
If insurance isn’t covering it, they are probably covering Epinephrine in a different format, so please check into it!
The cost has probably spiralled recently because the patent is running out and other companies will be able to muscle in on the market, so they are milking it for every last penny before the inevitable price crash. cynical I know.
Danny – perhaps a tad cynical but also realistic. There could be some truth in that!
I have had to buy the 2 packs for 2 kids for 5 years now, and have to have the 2 packs at school by law in addition to the ones at home for peanut allergy. So 4 -2packs every year at a cost of $80 each and rising. I have never had one with an expiration over 1 year. So our cost is $320 every year with insurance and we have never had to use them. My kids can’t carry it on them in school because they are two little and they are locked up in the nurses office. Such a joke. Now with our new health insurance, I understand we will pay much more unless it is considered preventative. OUCH!
Ouch is right Gina! Keep on the lookout for coupons and rebates and if you find one, share the knowledge here. We’ll do the same!
I just went to Costco to pick up my son’s prescription for two Epi pens. I was stunned when they told me it would cost $357.00!! He has a severe allergy to bee stings. We have no insurance. What a shock! I told them to re-stock it and came home to do some research. I have found the coupons, which will help, but I can’t believe the cost of these things.
Hopefully I will find more help out there. If I do I will come back here and share. Thanks for all the good info
You are welcome Carol! Here’s to hoping your son never has to use those EpiPens!
I also have a bee allergies but haven’t been able to get an epipen for last 5 years.. I don’t see how not dying is a lifestyle choice.. I feel for your little one
scott. your sons life is more importnat than anything else you would do with that money. he NEEDS epipens and he NEEDS to know he is important enough for you to pay for them and provide for him in that way. forget the “step” while you’re at it – children don’t care about steps or last names, they only care about love and trust. I was raised by a “step” dad, but I knew he was my only real and true dad that would have given his life for me if need be
You must not have read what I wrote or have misunderstood it. I am lucky to have the good insurance and resources to have 3 sets of epi-pens for my stepson Christopher. I was pointing out the fact that you could pre-fill your own syringes for those who have no other choice. I am sure they are probably doing this already in some of the very poor countries.
I just noticed another option, pharmacies in New Zealand are selling the epi-pen for $135. If you can’t afford the $300 here, maybe that could help. I would definitely find satisfied customers of any pharmacy on the internet and make sure you have several recommendations if you use this option. In the past, I had ordered medications from New Zealand and they were very high-quality. You can never be too careful nowadays with the fake drugs being sold in many of the less regulated countries. I’d probably settle for pre-loaded syringes of epi bought in the US over getting auto-injectors from overseas. Well, its you or your children’s life, so it is very important.
It may seem like a ripoff, but if the time comes that it needs to be used, it will be a priceless item.
Have you heard about the Epipen Savings Program? It ran for 2013 and is again for 2014.It covers up to $100 copay per pen pack (3 of them per prescription!). I’ve used it this year and had zero problems doing so.
Absolutely Nicole – it is priceless when you need it. Thanks for sharing the info on the Epipen Savings Program! For those that can’t afford the 2-pack, this may be a lifesaver for them.
The comments here are interesting…. I found this post after going to the pharmacy to get my Rx filled wondering how much an EpiPen costs. My short story for what it’s worth…
Always had bee allergies. Went to get my Epi renewed yesterday… had to get the test shots in the arm again because this is a new doctor with our new insurance plan…(a whole other story about the new healthcare law and its effects on those of us that HAD good insurance and now have new plans as our old plans “did not meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Healthcare Act”)
… anyways… test. Yes, still allergic to Yellow Jackets. RX was electronically sent to my pharmacy.. I must say this was a first. I do not have to visit my doctor very often and maybe they have been doing this for a while… I do not know.. Drive to pharmacy about two hours later and have to go through the “new card, new insurance” stuff and finally am told that my new provider will not cover the cost without “preapproval” that can take up to a week… So I ask the pharmacist “What if I just pay cash?” and she tells me that would be $450… so I wait for “preapproval” to be sent by my doctor to my new insurance and get to pick it up today and only pay the $30 co-pay. I am just glad I did not need to rely on an expired epipen had things gone bad today. Granted this is part of my winter activities as there are no bees out this time of year… but I want to be ready for spring and the run around was crazy.
Well the Unaffordable Care Act killed us too. My family had insurance until it was abruptly cancelled 2 months ago (thanks Obama) and to receive the same “benefits” with a new plan, the cost is over double, which we now can’t afford. We don’t have insurance. I keep saying that, and it feels strange. So, when I went to Costco to get an Epipen (2 pk), I just couldn’t believe it…$350 at COSTCO!! Needless to say, I left without the medicine, and we have no peace of mind that an Epipen in the medicine cabinet offered us.
All of you who noticed that it “seemed” like health costs are going way up for the middleclass, you have great insight. We are all paying for the non-insured. Our family was underinsured, so we could make ends meet, but at least we had crisis insurance. Now we have been forced in to the non-insured status. Am I bitter about this? YES!!!!
OMG!! Obama Must GO!!!
I was partily responsible for the epi auto injector company’s [there are todsy 7 of them] goimg to selling 2 packs. I am not responsible for their high price. THE RESON for two packs is that an unknown number of people estimated as high as several thousand annually DIE in the USA from lack of epi – epi quick enough or [and here is the kicker] NOT having TWO doses of epi, 1 out of 3 episoids NEED 2 doses of epi to keep the person ALIVE. This has been and is a feild of study for me in which I have earned a master degree. you might look at our site of anaphylaxiseducators.com
Carl- as stated in the article, yes there are people who need 2 EpiPens; the statistics I read said that about 20% (not one-third)may need 2 injections. It would be interesting to take a poll of how many people that have 2 EpiPens, carry both around. Or do they keep them in 2 places to help insure they always have one available. For example, do you keep one at work and one at home (because you have never needed 2).
As far as having a masters for this field of study; that’s great (though you’re spelling might indicate the university is lacking). Then you probably may also be aware that research may indicate Vitamin D supplementation could help those with anaphylaxis.
When I had insurance that covered the epi 100% we carried 2. Since then I have her carry 1. I worry about the discount program ending and my co-pay going up. I went in one day for a 2 pack and my co-pay was 91. Three weeks later a script was sent in and it was 108. So no unless we can’t get to the other one easily like a trip or such we carry 1
Hello just searching around for info on EpiPens found your site thought I might leave some info I found. [YMMV] but I thought it very good info;
Is my EpiPen still good? = http://www.oakstreetmedical.com/easyblog/entry/ask-a-doctor-is-my-epipen-still-good
My complaint is different – I went to the pharmacy to get the prescription for my daughter’s epi-pen & when I got home & opened it the expiration date was only 6 months away! Now I know they do expire but I don’t want to pay $40 copay for something that expires in 6 months. I called the pharmacy & that’s all they had so now I have to wait for them to get in a better shipment. I wish they would have said something before I filled it!
Tell me it’s too expensive when you’re on the ground unable to breathe.
True. I used to be a pharmacy intern, before my now publishing career, and there were parents who’d have no problem spending tens or hundreds dollars on junk toys for their children. And of course, somehow they couldn’t fathom paying their copay for their child’s needed medications. I’d bet that most parents, when they stop purchasing iPhones for their 10-year-olds and Prada bags and new golf clubs for themselves, find that they’re able to save more towards medications. Funeral costs amount to more than a few hundred dollars. I’d pay or put up anything for my child not to die, especially for something so preventable.
Sorry, man, no sale. That’s absolutely no justification for The State & the The Machine stabbing everyone w/ the price increase. Yes, blame it on the ACA & the power grab therein. My family didn’t have these issues when our private health insurance company didn’t have to battle The State & raise our premiums as a result.
I have no health insurance. Can’t afford it. I called Mylan and got them to send a 0 copay card to me. I called my doctor and he made out a prescription for a 2-pak of the Epipens. That was easy. Now, after reading all of the posts here, I am afraid of the cost! My last bad reaction, which was to Cipro, landed me in the ER. I have had bee stings that gave me a bad allergic reaction also. Same with NSAIDS. I am wondering if Epipens would be a good thing to use until I get to a hospital for all of these things should I need it in the future? I am very careful about any medications I take.
I might not be able to afford my prescription. I know, a lot of you are thinking that I should do just about anything to have Epipens with me. There are so many of us in this same boat. It is scary and sad. My last pen was purchased in 2000 and cost me $30. No insurance. I will let you know how it goes at the pharmacy when I get my 0 copay card.
I have a garden that I only go out to water at night. Bees, wasps and other little stinging things. I was stung by a scorpion once and lived. Stung by a jellyfish and lived. I pray I stay safe and lucky. Same to all of you.
Ask you doctor about getting an epinephrine ampule 1:1000 strength and a 1cc tuberculin syringe. I used to work in a pharmacy and we dispensed these for many years. The cost was (and still is) around 5 dollars for the whole thing. People would carry the ampule around in a prescription bottle with cotton surrounding the ampule so it would not break during vigourous shaking. When needed the person broke the ampule top off and pulled up 0.2-0.3ml of the epinephrine and injected just like the epi-pen. The only thing unique about the epi-pen is they made the process easy. I think it is disgusting that the drug company is taking advantage of everyone for simple convenience.
I mentioned the same idea much earlier for those who can’t afford it
Jerry, now that is the most useful info in this blog right now. I jumped onto startpage.com and found several places offering this from $4.95 to a six pack for $22.95 plus shipping. I have a small hard-shell joggers first-aid strapable box that can be worn or tossed into a bookbag or the car. It’s perfect for this. Do make a note to self though, keep this cool and out of direct sunlight.
I like the nasal spray too, but there are repercussions if used often. For those of once or twice a year, no problem.
The maker of EpiPen has a ZERO Co-Pay program. Just go to EpiPen.com and click on the EpiPen Auto-Injector $ 0 Cp-Pay offer. It’s easy and most people are eligible.
Just went to pick up a prescription and WITH insurance it was $355.50. For something, like you, I hope never to use. However, I can’t always avoid what I’m allergic to – it’s bees and I’ve come across them in every climate, every time of year and even one on an airplane on a transatlantic flight. Really, really disgusted. If it was for my kids, I’d find a way, but I can’t justify that.
For people who had to pay more than $25 for the Epi-Pen, it’s because your insurance sucks, not because the Epi-Pen is expensive. And the reason that you have sucky insurance coverage is because you cheaper out and took the absolute least expensive plan that you could find. You get what you pay for.
As far as paying for something that you might not need…ever hear of the concept of insurance?
Finally, as someone has pointed out here, Epi-Pen does have a $0 co-pay card that you print from their website. Mylan also has a low income program, where they will send you free ones if you have no insurance and no money.
There’s a good reason that the pharmacy dispenses 2 at a time…because many severe cases of anaphylaxis will rebound, and because people with anaphylaxis may be a long distance from an emergency room (camping, at the lake, etc)
Thanks for the feedback Koiman. I am certain that for those that pay more than $25 for an EpiPen, it is because they have a high deductible and it is more of a major medical plan. I wish everyone could afford to pay for better insurance, then it would be a non-issue, wouldn’t it?
You are right, someone pointed out here that you can print coupons for discounts – something not everyone would know or may have known before reading this article, but since there is this dialogue going on, many do now! Thanks to everyone who offered options.
As pointed out in the post, yes there is a reason why 2 are dispensed at a time, for the 20% that may need 2. For the 80% that need only one, you have no choice. And if you can only afford one, as stated in the article, one is better than none.
The Epi-Pen 2pack is $400 at any pharmacy, I know because I called all of them. The $0 copay from the company will only cover up to $100, and it’s just a coupon that anyone can use. So that makes them $300 for the 2pack for someone without insurance.
Which insurance plan do you have, and how much is your monthly premium? Plenty of the new ACA-compatible plans have very high deductibles that don’t cover Rx meds at all until you hit your deductible. If you have a money tree out back I’d love some seeds from that sucker.
Why don’t insurance companies, in my case Blue Cross/Blue Shield, cover any of an EpiPen prescription? And the price hike is shocking. It seems that there is some medical necessity for my daughter who has a peanut allergy and her school and aftercare require them.
I saw a much nicer injector than the epipen. It talks you through the emergency. I thought it was high priced at first but it was almost the same price as the epipen. My deductible is the same for either. I just ordered it at the pharmacy. It’s called an Auvi-Q injector. For someone like me, who has never had to use an injector, having verbal instructions is important. And it could be a life saver if I wasn’t able to use it myself and needed a friend’s help. I would have bought the epipen to save my insurance money but if both items are almost the same price…
We will be getting out Auvi-Q injector for my PA son in a couple days. The allergist gave us a demo and I am DEFINITELY recommending it for people with younger children. At age 5, I think even my son could follow the auditory instructions the Auvi-Q provides.
If you go to the Auvi-Q website, there is a $0 co-pay card for up to THREE 2pks. We are paying $0 out of pocket for $1,000 worth of epinephrine (2-2pks).
Did you miss the part where the $0 copay only covers up to $100?
It’s a brand new item. New coupon. Free. No limit. Free
Show me this coupon you claim makes a $400 EpiPen pack free.
I am now 66 years old with extremely sever allergies to bees wasps etc. Even though i have been taking live venon shots I am stil highly allergic. For years I carried a small kit called the ANA KIt. It was like an old fanshoned needle. It also had some antihistimanes packed in the kit. The needle had two shots of medcation in it. But it went off the market and EpiPen had the monopoly. Originally the EpiPen was very affordable. Now a two pack cost $398.43 from Walmart and approx $327 from Walgreens. UNfortuantly with Medicare Part D (drug coverage) I am not allowed to go to Walgreens. In additon because I have drug coverage inssurance, Mylan who makes the EpiPen puts out a coupn card ( still very expensive) and is only for those with poverty level income and no insurance. No patient assistance period. So then I called my mail order pharmacy connected with my Medicare Drug coverage. It is $162 ther for a two pack. Less but still very expensive. I live on $22,000 year income. Not alot of extra money for drugs.
Go to both the Epi-Pen and Auvi-Q websites, they have zero co-pay cards to download which will allow up to THREE 2-pks per patient at either zero co-pay for those with insurance or up to $100 discount for those without insurance. Still extremely pricey, but for the piece of mind the epinephrine provides for those with severe allergic reactions, saving ANY money is better than saving NONE.
Epi-pen will be cheaper of the two brands for those without insurance, but for those with insurance you should be able to obtain the more expensive, newer brand Auvi-Q.
Its now $400 for a 2 pack. This is awful for something that can save your life. I blame all!!!!
I am 39 years old and had my first major allergic reaction about two months ago. Since them I’ve had two more reactions, each one worst than the previous one. I was in the ER on Sunday with the worst reaction ever so far. I was covered head to toe in red hives with a face and hands that felt like I was on fire and looked like I had been dipped in red paint. Oral benadryl did not work this last time. I have no idea what I am allergic to, which is just as scary as having these allergic reactions. The allergy specialist I saw today prescribed an epipen because he is concerned that anaphylaxis is a real possibility for me if I have reaction number four. I was literally in tears today after learning that the cost for the two epipens is nearly $400! Even with the $100 discount from the manufacturer, $300 is not something my family can afford at all. The worthless Coventry One health insurance from Obama Care won’t pay a dime of the prescription cost. That’s because of a huge deductible that is ridiculous in an of itself. The thing that really ticks me off is that had Obama not forced us all to enroll in bargain basement insurance plans, then I would have qualified for a true zero cost epipen from the manufacturer. I found out today that they have a program to provide epipens for those who are uninsured. Even if your crappy insurance won’t pay a dime of the prescription cost, you are S.O.L. because they won’t let you qualify for the free program if you have any type of insurance. I have literally $40 in my wallet, an overdrawn bank account, and my husband does not get paid until one week from today. I am scared beyond words because a few hundred dollars is what could literally make the difference between life and death if I do have anaphylaxis and cannot get medical help in time. I don’t understand how the people who run insurance companies, pharmacies, and pharmaceutical companies can even sleep at night knowing that a life-saving medication is not at all accessible to so many people! I fully agree with the author of this article: one epipen is better than no epipen! If something bad does happen to me, I hope my family sues every single one of these people and even brings a case against the President of the United States for allowing things to get so out of control that a life-saving medication costs hundreds of dollars WITH insurance–a price that only those with lots of extra monthly income could even hope to pay!
I don’t think it’s a ripoff. You may need a second dose en route to the ER. I look at it this way: I’d rather pay the co-pay (which is zero if you go their website) rather than go without it and ended up dead, or in the ER with hospitalization with a higher copay. I’m just thankful we never have to use it yet. Let’s not overly politicized everything and blame Obama (I’m republican :).
Their co-pay program only knocks $100 off the $400 cost of the item, so it is only free for the few people who have low copays for this drug. For everyone else it’s $300 with the $100 discount without copays or less if your insurance covers any portion of it.
My son also needs to carry epi-pens due to potential deadly reactions to all nuts. I understand the twin-pack as emergency backup. What I find totally ridiculous is that with our insurance 1 epi-pen twinpack prescription submitted as a one-time script is $151. The IDENTICAL medication, identical quantity, but prescribed as “a 90-day supply” is $63. Even though it’s a one-time for emergency use only… and has nothing to do with number of days. Oh, and the default “90-day supply” is one per month…which is 3 twinpacks or 6 pens!!! Several phone calls later (and a few blood-pressure points higher) …. we are now paying $63 for one pen. Which I hope is never used. Maybe some of you can check with your insurance companies to see if it’s similarly priced.
We need this medication to become generic, with multiple companies making it. I also remember that one year, the expiration date was only 6 months away – MANY phonecalls by both me and my allergists nurse, determined there was a shortage and that’s all that was available.
I meant to say we are paying $63 for one twin-pack, not one pen!
Theresa, you are doing your readers a great disservice by not updating the original article with information about the coupon programs other comments mention.
It should be right there at the top of the post for people who find this article via google.
It should be noted that the cost of Epi-Pen and Auvi-Q are skyrocketing….
The out-of-pocket cost for both 2-packs of each are $ 400+ (without any coupons) everywhere I have checked recently.
That is outright extortion.
With the rising incidence of food allergies in kids………There needs to come a point where the government gets involved.
My out-of-pocket cost for 2-packs of Epi-Pen is $368 and my child never used it. She is good enough to avoid the allergens. But it’s required by law to keep unexpired Epi-Pen one at school, one at home, one at daycare, one at anywhere your kids may stay. The combination of the law with the skyrocket price is very wrong because the law ensures the price can go as high as the vendor’s willing. To fix this situation, either the law must be lift or the law must combine with restriction of the price.
Also, in my opinion, since this medicine is very rarely used and expires in a year or so, school or camp with many allergic kids should keep several pieces for whoever happened to need it, but not one for every kid.
What a shock when I recently went to go get my seven-year-old son’s RX for his Epipen and they told me &600–with a $0 copay! For a prescription I hope to never use on him! His school will not use an expired pen on him, obviously, and I cannot afford $600 a year. It is absolutely ridiculous that this country has a priority to offer some medications, such as birth control, for $0, yet a LIFE SAVING medication for $600! It’s sickening that a parent has to make choices like this. It seems that only very rich children or very poor will have easy access to Epipens. Sad!
And out of pocket costs for birth control are only $30 a month without insurance.
The Auvi-Q website information is incorrect. The link in the post passed along by a reader takes you to apparel. The correct one has a hyphen in it: http://www.auvi-q.com/ and the savings coupon that rivals Epi-pen’s is located here: https://www.auvi-q.com/sign-up.
Thanks Kathie! Appreciate your correction & I’m sure others do as well!
There are generic epinephrine auto injector. They are offering the same $100 off coupon. http://www.epinephrineautoinject.com
But how much is the full retail price of it, do you know?
The company has us all over a barrel and I feel thry are ripping us off plain and simple.
I have never had coverage for my pen, 6 years ago it was $50 then the health dept decided that we all need two pens because some people will food allergies need two injections so the pens went up to $175 two years ago and when I went to get one today it was $335 so needless to say I did not get one. My pharmcey told me there was a generic one and ordered it for me it was $10 with my copayment so I got it. I hope it is safe and works. I feel incredibly ripped off by the the maker of Epi pen.
This is our life we are talking about and they know we have no choice. I would love nothing more than to see some competition for the maker of Epi pen. It shameful what they cost, I even considered asking friend if they could split a 2 pack with, that is how desperate I am.
Epinephrine was first synthesized in 1904! The actual cost of manufacturing the drug your buying is pennies at best. Yet somehow it retails for almost $400. This is insane and possibly straight up evil on the part of drug manufacturers as well as the political class that allows this sort of pricing to continue. My understanding is that the manufacturer was able to patent the auto-injection process and as long as they continue to make tweeks to their design they can continue to extend the patent length.
Those who blame Obama are in part correct as the White House made sure to have the support of the pharmaceutical industry before pushing the ACA through congress. Which of course ment no price controls, no drug importation and no bargaining over cost.
Regardless it’s sickening and a prime example of how this country maximizes corporate and share holder profit at the expense of it’s own citizens.
The problem lies in the fact that not only is the epinephrine a crazy cheap drug, the dispenser was designed by the military for use against chemical warfare and only had minimal changes made to work with the epinephrine. This means there should be no design costs at all at this point.
On top of all of that if people could simply be trained in the use of the syringe we could reduce the cost to almost nothing. As well as get the message out to the manufacturers of the Epi-pen that they cannot charge this much and still expect to have the multitude of customers they currently have to manipulate.
The biggest issue is that the Epi-pen is required for use in schools in order to speed reaction time for all of those involved. Is it not possible for them to keep a small vial on hand for those who would prefer that method, possibly with pre-filled syringes? The same for those who have some kind of reaction for the first time at school with no idea there was an allergy? I mean school nurses are trained nurses, I just don’t see why the Epi-pen is required.
As soon as my daughter (anaphylactic to peanuts & tree nuts) is out of school we will be switching exclusively to syringe method.
Option cheapest: 1 ml of 1:1000 Ampules and your own syringe
Thank you for this post. I just got my first Epi-pen scrip (I’m allergic to Cannabis, and have developed pneumonia after just being in a room where somebody had at one point smoked it, and will go into anaphylaxis if somebody is smoking it in person). With the rise of Cannabis legalization (both recreationally and medicinally), I decided I would finally get the scrip. The pharmacist said the same to thing to me: “This is a lot of money. You sure you want this scrip?” After learning it was $377 (generic wasn’t much better nearing $300), I had to walk away empty-handed as I didn’t have the funds.
Considering how many people require an Epi-pen (but, like you, hope to never use it), it is appalling that (1) the drug company would exclusively produce a 2-pack (what if you use one?–then you have to buy two more to have an extra on hand) and (2) that they would say that the exclusive decision to sell two is based on World Allergy Organization standards (again, having two on hand does not mean having to exclusively sell two).
This has nothing to do with guidelines or recommended standards–this is all about money. They could just as easily sell them in both singles or doubles if they really wanted.
YES – DSB, Daisy… and Eco-girl, great links!
The REAL insult in this whole mess IS that the epipen contains about $2 worth of epi and $96 of the cost pays for the patented delivery system… so who is causing the issue. If anyone with legislative power cared about getting these things out to everyone who needs one, they would legislate the price (and profit) of the maker. Which again is the problem with ACA – what could have been an effective single payer system was rewritten and watered down to insure the massive profits that the medical industry is accustomed to!
Don’t believe it? Ask your doctor for a prescription for ampules of epi and syringes… $20 for ten doses last time I bought them!!!
Both epi makers offer a “zero” coupon or discount program that WILL NOT APPLY FOR MEDICARE!
I too was shocked that my Medicare Part D copay was way over $300. I said turn it back. I have old epiPens that need replacing. I will look into the epi ampules with syringes. Very cumbersome to carry with me at all times. The companies should offer some help to those of us no longer working with no pension.
I went to Walmart to have my EpiPen refilled today (1-29-15) I was in shock when I heard the price $410 and thats with insurance (which does not pay very much), I told them I would think about it. I had it filled in 2013 for a 2 pack was $73. I couldn’t believe it went from $73 to $410 (without insurance $450) So my husband started looking and I called the hospital pharmacy, the hospital pharmacy did some searching and found a coupon from the manufacture and it turns out to be $0.00 co-pay, she said it will cost me nothing. This whole prescription situation is out of control and those who can’t afford it will go without. Obama care, what a joke.
That coupon only covers $100 of the co-pay, whatever that might be.
I don’t have insurance… but was in the hospital last week due to anaphylaxis, and was prescribed an epipen. It is $500 to pick up at the pharmacy which I cannot afford. I am TRYING to find any assistance program that will help but having no luck.
Call your local pharmacies for price quotes. We used Walgreens here which had a prescription program. We paid $30 and got $80 discount on the Epipen for my wife. Plus we had the $100 voucher from the manufacturer. So the $390 Epipen cost us under $250 with tax. Still incredibly expensive, but a lot less than retail.
One year after publishing this article, the price for the 2-pack is now $433 – $150 more than 1 year ago! Have they lost their minds? I think they’re trying to squeak out every last outrageous penny before the patent expires and the generic comes out in 4 months. Price gouging at it’s finest!
I just checked with my local CVS and the full cost is $241.27 but my portion of the tab is just $24.13. I’m thankful that I have reasonable prices and good coverage from my insurance company! I feel bad for those who don’t have insurance.
But how is it $241 in the first place? This is a $400 prescription. Your 10% price is amazing.
Thanks Theresa for this post. I was wondering why they are now only 2-pacs. I just went into my 1st ever anaphylaxis last week (and I am 40?!!?).
STUNNED at this cost. The markup isn’t even high. As a practitioner I get wholesale at medical supply companies and it’s the same as retail. I have catastrophic insurance only with zero prescription coverage outside of a hospital. All of the above coupons only apply to insurance companies- meaning there is an agreement with insurance companies to help them, and not the individuals- the insurance gets the kick back- for those paying for that kick back get the savings, for everyone else- you’re screwed. While that looks like insurance is a lovely savior- it’s actually monopolizing the market right before your eyes. Games. When I called to change/add I was told this can only be done thru “open enrollment” in November. It’s April. Our health care system is a massive disaster on so many levels. Before, during, and after Obama- for all you political voices out there. It’s at this point not a republican or democratic thing. It’s an American ignorance to food, water and air quality and big phrama/insurance controls.
Regardless- I was stunned I now need to shell out $400 for a maybe. Allergist is getting seen next week- b/c we aren’t sure what even caused this. I hadn’t eaten in over an hour so it pretty much rules out food.
They blow the price by 5 folds. Earlier , without Rx coverage I used to pay only $100 for dual pack. Now without insurance it is over $500 with insurance it is over $400.
Befor helath reform we did not have RX plan and we used to pay about $100 for epipen dual pack. Now they have increased it’s price to over $500. With insurance you can get it for over $400 because we have a deductible. After the deductible we have to pay 25% as copayment, ie the same price we use to pay without insurance. The new reform is a big scam and rip off. Basically we are forced to pay for insurance , but get no insurance. This may be the case with hospital bill etc. They blow the price by 5 folds and ask for copays of 25%-20%. THE INSURANCE COMPANY PAY NOTHING. We pay tons of money on a forced insurance and the result is we do not get any insurance.
If you can’t afford a epipen, you should at least be able to make some kind of payment arrangements.This is somebody life at stake not just mine. I have been allergic to lemons,oranges tangerines,grapefruit,tangelos,little cuties,limes,Murray lemons,peaches,apricots,blood peaches,nectarines,mango,avocado,tomato,all nuts,red grapes purple grapes,red cherryplums,kiwi,comquats,pollen cottonwood,acacia, bee stings hornets, bumble bee,yellow jackets,fire ants,dust mites flea bites mosquito bites,MSG, hodrolized protein, modified corn starch, codeine, vicodin that’s just off the top of my head. I can’t afford an epipen let alone 2. So I have been living my life at home, I can’t eat out everything I eat I make it myself,that is the only way I can stay safe.it is a very scary thing anaphylaxis,if you never experienced it, or know anyone who has,YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE because if you did ,you would be the first person to say that we should get some kind of insurance to help pay for it or discount for fixed income. This is a life / death situation for us. If we were on heroin. They would pay for the METHADONE so they won’t go into withdrawals. They might feel like they are going to die,and chances are they won’t die,but there is more than 75 % chance that if we don’t get to the hospital in time ,we will die especially if we don’t have an epipen those chances grow even more greater thankyou
My dog is allergic to bee stings and had an anaphylaxis reaction a few years ago. Harrowing. I’ve had to get epi pens for her. They were $100 for two epi pen jr.s. When I my dr. gave us a script for an epi pen for my 12 month old son (fam history: my brother is deathly allergic to fish, nuts and mushrooms) the CVS pharmacist told me the epi pen jr. two-pack costs $414, for the EXACT SAME medication. Insanity. So I just called my vet and had them refill my dog’s prescription.
Just an FYI… I went to pick up a refill for my little boy’s EpiPen Junior today, and the cost out of pocket at my local Rite Aid was going to be $580. The pharmacist used an EpiPen Co-Pay discount card, and knocked it down to $481. But STILL. That is SO much money! Last year the same EpiPen Junior 2-pack was $200 for us after that discount. It’s ridiculous what you have to pay! They know they can charge you whatever they want ’cause it’s a life or death situation for many of us. Makes me sick. I decided to call around all of the pharmacies in my town, and finally found a mom and pop pharmacy who quoted a price of $395 after using the co-pay discount card. It was the best deal I could find. Call around… prescription prices fluctuate just like gas does.
Except the price of gas goes up AND down, and it’s tied to the price of oil. The price of EpiPens is tied to the manufacturer’s greed. If you don’t like it complain to your lawmakers; obviously the Affordable Care Act did anything but make things affordable.
Better question to the drug maker – WHY DOES THE PEN COST SO MUCH ?????
The medicine in the pen costs about $20 or less. The pen costs $400. Lawmakers and the Affordable Care Act have nothing to do with the cost of the pen. People around the globe are saying no to the EpiPen and going without due to the high cost. Epinephrine is a common drug that has been around for decades.
(there is an alternative, regular “shot needle” kit. That too costs $200-$300. No reason!)
Epinephrine costs less than $1 per dose to make. A lot less.
my daughter has peanut and fish allergies. The doctor gave me a $0 copay card. Well a year ago the 2 pack epi-pens cost me $78…We have insurance. I went to refill the prescription thinking that I”d get it for $0 but what a shock. read the fine print, the coupon is only worth $100 maximum off. The cost of epi-pens jumped to over $800 without insurance but with insurance it was still slightly over $600, then substract the $100 coupon and still left to pay $500! It’s not the insurance’s companies fault, they are still paying the same amount they did a year ago. The price gouging of those pens comes from the company. Needless to say, I had to leave without her epi-pens. I do not have $500 laying around. We have no luxuries to cut either. I do not own a cell phone, no cable tv, etc. there is no place to cut.
After reading these comments, I see I’m in a similar predicament. I went to refill my son’s epipen and the cost, since I have a high deductible plan, was over $500!!! With the coupon, it came down to $400 each 2 pack so I left without refilling them. My pharmacist showed me that he only makes $10 of the $500 cost also so I know it’s not them that are upping the prices. I now have over 6 expired epipens laying around and I am looking for an alternative to the stupid auto injector that is making this cheap medicine cost so much. I’m an RN so giving an injection myself is not an issue. And I’ll be talking to the school nurse about the possibility of having 3-4 epipens on hand instead of the 20+ that sit unused all year at school and then expire. I’m also looking into Canadian pharmacies to see if those prices are any better. I’m so disgusted with this whole ordeal and can’t imagine desperately needing this medicine and having to deal with this. Luckily, my son is only allergic to wasps and we’re in year 4 of allergy shots so I hope this is my last year going through this circus.
I went to my local CVS pharmacy to refill my child’s epi pen perscription for the next school year. I like to do this mid-summer because if I delay often the pharmacy runs out of the supply around the time school starts. Well, much to my surprise the price was $500+ dollars, and that was after my insurance benefit was accounted for on this order. I asked the pharmacist if there could be an error and they said no. The told me the full price was will over $600! They said they’ve seen a steady increase in the medication over the past years. I don’t recall paying anywhere near this amount the last time I order this refill. This is insane! I told them I was going to shop my options. Walgreens confirmed a similar price and so did Rite-Aid’s pharmacy. I can only image how many people with serious allergies are going to find their Epi Pen prescriptions too costly to fill. This isn’t a new medicine and the R&D to create it hasn’t radically changed the cost, so why the heck is it becoming some pricey. This is terrible. If this is the result of Obamacare — then something must be done! This is a terrible problem. This could cost people their lives if they don’t have the means to afford their life-saving medications. I am very troubled by this price increase not simply for my family’s sake, but for all who need it and especially those who may have difficulty affording this medicine.
I will be calling my child’s doctor to discuss options, our local politicians and will write the manufacturer too! I encourage others to do the same. Posting our concerns here aren’t enough, everyone must take action to get some positive change for the safety of people with life-threatening allergies.
I am having the same issue. My insurance is a HSA, so no copay, must pay the full amount until my deductible is met. The cost was over $400 for the 2 pack at Kroger. I also shopped other pharmacies and the price is about the same…just a few dollars different.
This is outrageous for a medicine that more than likely will be thrown out in a year. My child was has a severe allergy to tree nuts and fish. She is now 16 and was diagnosed when she was 5 for the nut allergy. For a few years, I did not purchase, when we had a copay of $25 since we were throwing them out. She has always been a very picky eater, so did not worry about it too much. Always have Benadryl on hand.
I started purchasing epi-pens again when she got diagnosed with the fish allergy last year since I was afraid of other unknown allergens that we are unaware of. As she gets older, she is not as picky about eating and is more open to trying new foods…so I see more of a need to have one handy.
The cost is crazy for a drug you will more than likely never use.
Who can we start contacting about this? The drug companies are sticking it to us.
Also, is your allergist requesting that your child come in again for a check to make sure he/she is doing well before writing you a new prescription for epinephrine? Mine will not. I told them that she has had a well check at her pediatrician a few months ago and is fine…what do they need to check? They are not doing another test…so what is the point? I guess they need to make money to sign the 3 forms the school needs…I understand…they are probably doing a lot of these forms…just charge us a fee if that is the case instead of an appointment to check for nothing….
What is wrong with our healthcare system!!!!
Just went to get a refill of epipens since I may have a severe allergy to bees (not confirmed yet, must get stung twice they say) and I want to carry an epipen just in case since I’m trying to become a beekeeper. I’m on Medicaid and Medicare and both state they cover epipen so I won’t have to pay a thing. I stop at the pharmacy to pick them up, and they were going to charge me $575 for a 2 pack! That’s outrageously expensive for something that should be covered in the first place! I mean what the hell? And unfortunately I don’t qualify for epipen’s or auvi-q’s zero pay or savings program since both state that “This offer is not valid for prescriptions covered by or submitted for reimbursement under Medicaid, Medicare, VA, DOD, TRICARE, or similar federal or state programs, including any state medical pharmaceutical assistance program. Should you begin receiving prescription benefits from any federal, state, or government?funded program at any time, you will no longer be eligible to participate in this program.” The reason they state that is because medicaid and medicare already cover them! So why the hell would a pharmacy state that I couldn’t get it filled?
I am on Medicare but I do not have the Medicare Part B because I cannot afford it!!!! I check the price of the Epi Pen and it is $560! Ridiculous! I have a severe bee allergy and I am going to visit my son and there are a lot of bees on his farm. But I do not have $560 to pay for the injection in the pharmacy so what am I to do? I used to only pay $150 about 5 years ago and now the injection is this ridiculous price? So I guess if I get stung I will have to die.
I have Medicare Part D drug coverage, which doesn’t cover Epipen. Two years ago the charge for the 2 epipens was $230.00. My local pharmacies now charge over $500. This is unaffordable for me.
If you want to save money, Canadian pharmacies have 2 Epipens for about $230. This is still pricey, but half of what it is here. It’s a disgrace that we pay insurance premiums, and can’t afford something as basic as an Epipen. The drug companies and insurance companies are both to blame.
If you survive an anaplylactic reaction, the insurance will cover the thousands of dollars for an ambulance and emergency room visit. Makes no sense to me!
My son needed to have his epi pen refilled. This is the first year we have not had conventional health insurance. We decided to sign up with a share program that has no prescription benefits. That’s the bed we chose to make so we have to lay in it. However, the epi pen jr 2 pack has been quoted to me today from various pharmacies to cost between 500- 700 dollars. We have never had to use it and hope to never have to but we are bound and determined to find an easier way. We are looking into ordering the pen from Canada. I have found them online for 150.00 with free shipping. Just need to hear from some friends who have used this process and have reputable company names to share.The whole industry is whirling around and I don’t expect prices to go down. I will pray for all of you that your allergies will just go away and that we wont need to be so dependent on big pharma.
Michelle – Did you place that order yet? We are in the same situation everyone here is facing $100 last year and now $470 this year (before online coupon). I’m interested to see if that worked for you and if so who did you buy it from in Canada?
Ordered and received for 150.00 from NorthWest Pharmacy in Canada. The supplier was in United Kingdom so it took a while to get here but shipping was free. It has a shorter expiration date….expires in 12/2016. However, for the cost…I cam buy two for less than the cost of one here in the United States.
Have not yet but will let you know. I plan on trying to do it today. Not all online pharmacies in Canada offer the epi pen Jr but the ones that do average between 100-150 for the two pens. That is a whole lot cheaper than the 600 dollar average the pharmacies here are asking.
$725as in seven hundred twenty five dollars for an epipen at emergency in modesto, California. I have an increasing bee sting allergy. I usually tough it out, but last time my arm pits swelled. I learned bee venom attacks lymph nodes. So I drove to the pharmacist who all alarmed told me to go to emergency where I sat. I asked many times for cost, but the sweet receptionist said no worries. I have Medicare. Medicare does not cover epi pen. I did not pay$725. I went home suffered a day and a night and a week later still feel weak. I’m one of those persons who would die rather than pay big pharma.
Buy it in Canada. $94 without insurance.
Does anybody have a website in Canada for Epipen? I cannot afford $200… or as l read now $725 (for what costs the big Pharma probably less than $10/shot).
I went through an anaphylactic SHOCK (bites by conenose bloodsucker, also known as assassin bug). Somehow l did the right things (loss of of control of bodily functions, sudden loss of blood pressure, which threw me right on my bed, the only thing that remained, my lungs were not attacked) – my closest ER is more than 1/2 hour away, which is too far for surviving another shock.
If l may say so – why are these comments (as well as the blogger) so full of politics? Attacking Obama Care in stead of the insurance companies and Big Pharma?!? I wish that people would address the issues and look for a fault in those who are guilty.
Thanks for finally talking about >The EpiPen Ripoff –
Healthy Concepts with a Nutrition Bias <Liked it!
I went to get mine and it was over 800.00, well – guess I will die! Seems insane to me – something so important is out of our reach even with my health coverage which is over 800.00 a month as well! Even the 0.00 copay they advertise is really just a 100.00 off. Still who has 700.00? Not me!!!!!!
I realize this thread started years ago, but the information is still applicable today. My Epi-Pens expire next month, so I started pricing them through my insurance (HSA plan with a $2,700 individual deductible). When I filled my prescription last year I had met my deductible so I only had a $65 copay. This year I’m only $88 towards my deductible, BUT I’ve almost met my son’s deductible (meaning I have a lot of medical bills to pay, and his prescriptions already cost me $200+ a month on top of doctor bills). My cost with the discount my insurance applies is $613.38 for the Epi-Pen. That’s WITH the discount from my insurance company for a product that I haven’t needed to use in 15 years (knock on wood). The generic versions that are finally available are $464.79 and $415.23 after the discount. The available discount cards from the manufacturers only knock off up to $100, so I’m still looking at $315-$513 depending on what’s available at my local pharmacies. With my current medical expenses I’m seriously considering NOT filling it until sometime next year, since stinging insect season will be settling down here soon when cold weather sets in. The icing on the cake is that my doc didn’t write it with refills, which is strange because my need to have is as a precaution isn’t going to change, so I have to take time off work and go in for a $120 doctor visit to have a new script written (If she writes it during my “free” annual visit I’ll end up being charged for a second visit anyway). I am lucky to have low premiums for my small group plan through my employer but the coverage isn’t the greatest when it comes to prescriptions.
You should be able to call your doc and have them fax over a prescription to your pharmacy. Obviously no need for a checkup or an appointment since an epi-pen isn’t something that people abuse, and it’s not something that needs to be diagnosed as you already have a need for them.
The EpiPen controversy:
It’s been in the news a lot about how the cost of EpiPens has soared in the last decade to (I heard on NPR this morning) $608.00 for a two-pack. This medicine is crucial for people who have severe allergic reactions, and the company (Mylan) is obviously ripping people off. I have some observations.
The only active ingredient in EpiPen is epinephrine, a synthetic form of adrenalin, a naturally occurring hormone.
Each EpiPen contains 0.3 mg of epinephrine (for 66 lbs. or greater) or, for the EpiPen Jr. 0.15 mg of epinephrine for those weighing less than 66 lbs. (according to Mylan’s site).
While epinephrine does require a prescription, a 30 ml bottle can be bought for around $75.00. That equals to 100 doses for $75.00 (or 75 cents a dose) whereas the EpiPen (at the 0.3 dose) for two doses equates to $304.00 a dose. A one ml ampule (enough for three doses) can be purchased for as little as $5.00 (check online).
What’s in the EpiPen and what comes in a bottle or ampule is the SAME drug–no difference–and the dose can be as easily and safely stored in a preloaded syringe for as long as it can be stored in an EpiPen.
The strength of both what is contained in the EpiPen and the 30 ml bottle and the ampule are the same–1mg/ml. Syringes are cheap.
I emphasize preloaded syringes, not something that has to be drawn up out of the vial the moment when an emergency occurs. Actually, all the EpiPen is is a preloaded syringe. IT HAS A NEEDLE. The user simply does not see the needle until it is retracted.
A 0.3 mg dose drawn up in a 1 ml syringe or even a 3ml syringe is not rocket science. The syringes are clearly marked.
The 30ml bottle of epinephrine would require your doctor’s prescription, but syringes and needles can be purchased by anyone. I am a wildlife rehabilitator and have ordered and possess hundreds of them.
A syringe injection (preloaded) takes no more time than an EpiPen injection.
If the user is a child and has a pre-existing condition, at least where I live schools DO allow them to carry and administer (even by injection) needed medicines (though the school might need to be informed first).
Conclusion: If I had severe allergic reactions, I would refuse to be ripped off by Mylan. Basically people are paying $304.00 for a dose of something that can be obtained for 75 cents a dose. The other $302.25 is paying for the stupid little disposable plastic delivery device. It’s not that difficult to figure out how much to draw up in a syringe for a dose and have pre-loaded syringes at the ready. Safe carrying cases for the preloaded syringes are available also.
Use overseas pharmacies. Just paid $115 for 1 pen. That’s including the shipment of the pen from the UK. Figure shipping is probably $25 or so, and you realize the scope of the scam being run by Mylan.
I just went to the pharmacy and paid $40 for 1 months supply of synthroid medication for my inactive thyroid. That adds up to $480 a year. If I don’t by the medicine and not take it. I won’t die but I will have no energy. But I buy the medicine no matter what!
$600 is only $50 a month for an epipen that might save your life. So that is extremely cheap for something that will save your life. Heck $100 or even $200 a month still seems cheap. It seems the pen was very underpriced before. Also too many people are buying it who don’t need it.
Epinephrine is synthetic adrenaline, and it costs less than a nickel to manufacture and has been around for decades. This isn’t some medication we’re taking every month like you are.
There should be a law case against this. This is basically forcing people to spend more money then they need on a necessity. Extortion is another word for this.