Monday, January 23, 2017

CVS Announces $100 EpiPen® Generic

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Over the past few years, the U.S. has seen a dramatic increase in the cost of the EpiPen®.  For those of you unfamiliar with its usage, the EpiPen® is an auto-injector system that delivers a remeasured does of epinephrine to a patient.

Many children now suffer from unusual allergies to common substances such as peanuts.  For those unfortunate enough to have such allergies, exposure (for some even to dust from the substance) can result in a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.  Without going into all of the medical details suffice it to say that anaphylactic shock can result in the throat swelling and closing off the airway, creating an inability to breathe.  Some sufferers have died from anaphylaxis and the best way to stop the reaction is to give the patient a remeasured dose of epinephrine.  Because of the dangers of anaphylaxis, an EpiPen® has become a yearly expense for many families.  It is definitely a case of better safe than sorry.

However, over the last 6 years the price of the EpiPen® has risen 500% to $600.  Even with health insurance helping to defray some the cost, the EpiPen® can be a major expense for a family.  If health insurance is taken out of the question, it may be simply unaffordable.

In the last year, Mylan, the company that makes EpiPen® has been on the hot seat for potentially over charging and has even paid a $465 million Medicade rebate settlement.

Recently Cigna has announced they will no longer pay for the Mylan branded EpiPen® but will only pay for generics and only 50% of the price of those.

But it isn’t all bad news on the subject.  On January 12th CVS Health announced they are now carrying the generic Adrenaclick® auto-injector for a cash price of $109.99 for a two pack.  Here is some of the information from their announcement:

We recognized the urgent need for a less-expensive epinephrine auto-injector, and are proud to offer a low-cost option at all CVS Pharmacy locations. Patients can now purchase the authorized generic for Adrenaclick® at a cash price of $109.99 for a two-pack – the lowest cash price in the market. This authorized generic is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved device with the same active ingredient as other epinephrine auto-injector devices.

Needless to say $109.99 is a heck of a bargain compared to $600.  CVS Health has a lot of info on this program which can be accessed from this link.  

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