We have food allergies and we need to carry around EpiPens. But we also don’t have spectacular health insurance, so below is a rundown of the options I went through. My takeaway is that if you can’t get an EpiPen or EpiPen alternative for free, you should only pay in the range of $5-low $100s in the U.S.
#1 Health Insurance
When we had excellent health insurance, I was able to buy a pack of two generic EpiPens for as little as $30. I’ve also seen online that some people have health insurance that can bring the cost down to $0-$5.
Unfortunately, now that we have health insurance with a very high deductible, those generic Epipens would cost me $476. I detest anything associated with health insurance these days, so even if I could afford $476 for epipens, I would do my best to avoid this option.
#2 EpiPen Manufacturer Discount
On the Mylan brand name EpiPen website, you can get a savings card for up to $300 on brand name Epipen, and a savings card of $25 on generic EpiPens. However, you’re only eligible for these savings cards if you also have commercial health insurance:
“The Epipen Savings Card® helps eligible patients who have commercial health insurance save on out-of-pocket costs.”– Mylan website
And in fine, fine print, Massachusetts or California residents are not eligible. At any rate, if I were eligible for the savings card of $25, my generic EpiPens would now cost $451 instead of $476. The search continues. . .
(FYI, the brand name Mylan EpiPen and the generic EpiPen look and work exactly the same. The EpiPen alternatives operate a little differently.)
#3 EpiPen Alternatives
There are a few other EpiPen alternatives. You would need to get your doctor to write you an RX specifically for one of these alternatives.
- Adrenaclick – about 4 years ago, this was the wonderboy of EpiPen alternatives because CVS offered them for as little as $10 (I don’t remember the fine print of this offer). However, without insurance, it’s now offered at a retail price of ~$110 at Target/CVS pharmacies. You can also print out a $10 savings card that should bring you to ~$100.
- Auvi-Q – our allergist suggested trying Auvi-Q. This is the EpiPen alternative that talks you through the process. It has a retail price of $4500 that nobody actually pays. I called the Auvi-Q customer service number and learned that they have contracted with a direct delivery pharmacy called ASPN Pharmacies. To start the process for direct delivery service, call them or complete this direct delivery enrollment form. The pharmacy itself has mixed reviews. (My personal experience was that it took me about 2.5 weeks and two followup phone calls to get the EpiPens.) However, the ASPN representative told me the following:
- If you have commercial health insurance AND YOUR INSURANCE COVERS the Auvi-Q, then the cost will be $0, even if you have a high insurance deductible.
- If you have commercial health insurance AND YOUR INSURANCE DOES NOT COVER the Auvi-Q, then the cost will be $25. Still, not bad! (This is still in effect as of 11/16/21 – I just refilled this RX.)
- If you need more than one pack of 2, you can order a second one for the same price after a 30 day waiting period.
- For those without insurance, they offer a patient assistance option if you complete this patient assistance form. If you don’t qualify for financial assistance, they say that the most anyone should have to pay for Auvi-Q is capped at $360. At that price, you would be better off with a Adrenaclick or the generic EpiPen options through GoodRx and the like (see #4 below).
- Symjepi – I’m not familiar at all with this option, but I saw it listed on the GoodRX website as an Epipen alternative. Pricewise, I didn’t see any quotes that made it a better deal than the Adrenaclick or Auvi-q. I’m not sure there is any point to considering this option seriously.
#4 Prescription Cost Saving Websites
There are a lot of prescription cost saving websites out there now that can offer prices in the low $100s. To get these discounts, you search the name of the drug and the website returns an out of pocket cost comparison of the Rx’s cost at local pharmacies, along with a coupon that you can use at the pharmacy. These are the costs of the EpiPen if you pay without using insurance.
Here are a few of the sites I looked at. The costs below are based on my local zip code, so may be different for you. This is what I found for 1 pack of 2 generic epinephrine auto-injectors:
- Goodrx.com: $125.13 at Walgreens. I went to our local Walgreens with the coupon to doublecheck, and they verified this price quote. I didn’t verify the coupons of the other sites, but I’m guessing that they will likely work.
- Americaspharmacy.com: $110 at Target/CVS
- https://www.blinkhealth.com/Epipen: $367.85 at participating pharmacies
- https://www.singlecare.com/browse-prescriptions: ~$308 at the local Safeway pharmacy
- https://www.wellrx.com/prescriptions/: $145.70 at the local CVS pharmacy
#5 Your Allergic Friend with Good Health Insurance
It also crossed my mind to ask if any of my allergic buddies with good health insurance wouldn’t mind just calling in a refill for me to pick up. I figure that would be about $30 and without the kids in school, I really don’t need an RX in their names. Just throwing this idea out there. . .
#6 Expired Epipens
You either already have expired Epipens or you have friends that do. I think I’ve never felt that comfortable with expired Epipens, knowing that I carry them around in all sort of temperatures that could lead to its degradation in performance. However, if they’ve been stored safely, they could very well be perfectly useful, so you may keep that in consideration in terms of how many new Epipens you may want to buy. A study in 2019 showed that even Epipens that were 30 months past their expiration date were still effective. (See here if you’re trying to figure out how to dispose of them.)
Articles summarizing EpiPen costs:
- https://www.drugs.com/article/Epipen-cost-alternatives.html (most comprehensive with a good cost comparison table)
- Prescription Price Comparison & Discounts | WellRx