a look into our battle: epigate

I recently posted about Beau & his allergy diagnosis...you can see that HERE

Because of Beau's allergies being so severe, we have to carry an epinephrine auto injector with us at all times. These are sold in twin packs...so because Beau can not keep these in his posession while at school, we have to buy a twin pack to leave with his school nurse. We also have to buy a twin pack to leave at my parent's house, since that is Beau's after school care. And of course, we purchase a twin pack to keep with us & at our home. This totals THREE twin packs of auto injectors.

It's become habit to call these auto injectors, EpiPen's. And this is where the confusion & ridiculous pricing lie.

First, let's take a look at the EpiPen branded products. Due to epigate that came into light last year & the price gauging that Mylan was doing, there are now 2 branded EpiPen options:
1. EpiPen & EpiPen, Jr.
2. generic EpiPen - produced by Mylan

The EpiPen is what I feel most comfortable with - especially since during the school year, Beau is not with me more than he is with me. I want to ensure that the injector is user friendly, and I feel like EpiPen is. The instructions are clear & on the outside of the device. Plus it comes with a practice injector.

However, we have to pay out of pocket on these devices. Last year, I bought them through a pharmacy in the UK for $139.99 per twin pack. But I was only allowed to purchase 2 twin packs. Which as unsettling as that was, I had to split between all 3 locations (school, grandparents, and home).  To purchase these in the USA in 2016, was going to be $600 PER TWIN PACK. This was prior to the generic being released. 

In 2015, our allergist was able to hook us up with 2 twin pack samples from their rep. Their Mylan rep has since been unreachable, and now we have no assistance. 

When I took Beau for his last allergy test, I knew we were nearing expiration on our current devices and needed to purchase new ones. The doctor specifically wrote up our new prescription for "generic epinephrine auto injector" - - - > that is KEY! I went in thinking that the generic version would run us somewhere around $150 - just a number I felt comfortable with in my head.

Boy was I wrong. 

Upon calling the pharmacy, the generic Mylan EpiPen version was $300 per twin pack. My insurance only "cover" 2 twin packs per year - and by "cover" I mean contributes $140 max. The rest is on us.

Those "savings cards" that Mylan puts out do not help us. One in fact we do not even qualify for, the other shaved off $25 dollars. 

So I went up to my local CVS pharmacy because they have recently released a generic Adrenaclick version. This is a different injector, but the same drug inside, and same dosage for junior versus adult.

I was not comfortable with this injector. There was no "practice injector". The pharmacist even fumbled around with this device!

I made the financial decision that I had to for our family & in my son's BEST interest: I purchased TWO Mylan generic EpiPen, Jr. twin packs, and ONE generic Adrenaclick. In order for me to get all THREE as the Mylan generic EpiPen, Jr., that third pack was going to be $300....so I defaulted to the other generic at only $54.  My total was over $550 when everything was said and done. 

Here are my tips....and I'm still learning!

  1. Make sure your prescription is written up to include that "generic is acceptable". If your insurance will cover non-generic, GO FOR IT! Glad that worked out for you! 
  2. Ask for coupons from your allergist, your primary care, check the GoodRx app, and then check the pharmacy for coupons.
  3. Do not be in a rush! Go to the pharmacy and have them run your costs a variety of ways. You are not required to fill nor purchase
  4.  Keep in mind that all epinephrine auto injectors contain the SAME DRUG....epinephrine. You are just having to choose between the injector itself. 

I am praying that the cost on these LIFE SAVING devices will continue to decline. I left the pharmacy in tears when I dropped off the prescription for fulfillment - I hated having to choose between the brand I was familiar with and a brand that I knew nothing of with an entirely new injector. You can not put a price on this!

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