After months of waiting, we finally have some good news for EpiPen users! On December 16th, Mylan announced that epinephrine, the generic for the expensive EpiPen auto-injector, will be available in pharmacies this week.
As you may have heard, over the past couple of months, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of EpiPen, has been criticized for increasing the price of the epinephrine auto-injector by 400% since 2007, to about $600. In response to the criticism, Mylan announced in September 2016 that they would be releasing a generic—and it is finally here!
You can read more about the EpiPen pricing drama here.
What is epinephrine for?
Epinephrine is used for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reactions. People experiencing anaphylaxis may have symptoms like hives, shortness of breath, nausea, fainting, dizziness or low blood pressure.
Epinephrine treats anaphylaxis by increasing the blood pressure, decreasing swelling, and opening up the airways.
How much will the new generic cost?
Mylan released a statement last week that the authorized generic for Epipen would cost around $300 for a two-pack.
How will epinephrine be available?
Same as EpiPen and EpiPen Jr, epinephrine will be available in 0.15 mg and 0.3 mg strengths.
What are the upsides to the EpiPen generic?
There are several!
- First off is cost. With more options available, we expect that prices may become more affordable! Mylan will also be offering a $25 discount card on the new generic for insured patients. Hopefully this will mean less sticker shock at the pharmacy!
- This is also good news for coverage. We expect that the new generic will likely be covered under your lowest insurance tier, which means lower out-of-pocket costs for you!
- It will also be easy to use! For those of you who are used to using EpiPen, the generic auto-injector works the same way. This means that you won’t need to learn how to use a new type of injector.
Can I still save on brand name EpiPen?
Yes. If you decide that you would rather use brand name EpiPen, the manufacturer has some options to help consumers save. However, keep in mind that you have to qualify for these savings.
First, Mylan has a co-pay card for EpiPen that can reduce co-pays to as little as $0 for eligible patients. This card is for commercially insured patients only, and patients paying out of pocket are not eligible.
Mylan also offers a need-based patient assistance program for EpiPen users. Most people without insurance and with limited incomes will qualify. You will need a valid prescription and proof of household income.
If the generic still offer the best price for you, keep in mind that it is an authorized generic which means that it is essentially the same medication as the brand.
What other epinephrine auto-injector products are available?
- Adrenaclick. Similar to EpiPen, Adrenaclick contains 0.3 mg per dose, and has a smaller 0.15 mg per dose pen for younger kids. Adrenaclick also has an authorized generic, like EpiPen.
- Epinephrine. This is the authorized generic for Adrenaclick (check out this article for more information on what an authorized generic is). It also has both 0.3 mg and 0.15 mg dose pens.
- Auvi-Q. Last year Auvi-Q was taken off the market. However, in 2017, Auvi-Q will be re-released by its manufacturer, Kaloe. Kaloe has hinted at huge cost savings, so keep an eye out for it in 2017! You can read more about Auvi-Q here.