Home / Health / Get Ready for Sticker Shock When You See How Much EpiPen Costs

Get Ready for Sticker Shock When You See How Much EpiPen Costs

I just had a severe case of sticker shock when I went to refill A.J. prescription’s for the EpiPen Junior at our local Kroger Pharmacy. I was told the EpiPen costs  – $623.

$623

$623

Let that sink in for a minute.

Epipen Costs

EpiPen Costs

 

Then walk back into history with me when I purchased the same prescription twice in 2015 with the $100 off coupon Mylan Pharmaceutical (the maker of the EpiPen) provides. My out-of-pocket cost was $25 for the first two-pack of EpiPen Junior. The second two pack cost me NOTHING.

How did a life-saving prescription for our son’s food allergies go from $25 out-of-pocket to $623 in less than a year?

Click to Tweet: [Tweet “Why is 2016 EpiPen so high that many families can’t afford it? @MylanNews”]

What is an EpiPen?

For the last three years as a food allergy family, we’ve kept EpiPens at our son’s school and at home.

An EpiPen contains epinephrine, a medication to stop allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis. As of 2016, A.J. is allergic to shellfish, fish, nuts and eggs. If he ingests them, his body can react with potentially fatal results.

Here’s how the Mayo Clinic website describes anaphylaxis:

The flood of chemicals released by your immune system during anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock; your blood pressure drops suddenly and your airways narrow, blocking normal breathing. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include a rapid, weak pulse, a skin rash, and nausea and vomiting. Common triggers of anaphylaxis include certain foods, some medications, insect venom and latex.

An EpiPen is an auto injector that can immediately get the medication into an allergy sufferer’s system to stop the shock.

I’ve never had to administer it to A.J. THANK GOD. He’s had two allergic reactions – to nuts and seafood – that resulted in extreme vomiting less than 30 seconds after he ate the food.

EpiPen Maker Mylan Pharmaceutical’s Statement

There is a lot of speculation that the reason the price has gone up is because there is only ONE MAKER of the EpiPen, Mylan Pharmaceutical.

A previous competitor, the Auvi-Q auto-injector, was recalled in 2015 due to improper dosage concerns. Before it was recalled, we obtained two of them with no out of pocket costs thanks to a manufacturer provided coupon.

When I emailed Mylan Pharmaceutical and told them I’d be sharing my experience with the price hike, I received a really long statement about the price hike families are experiencing in 2016. I’ll share the highlights of what allergy families REALLY want to now.

“Mylan does not set the final retail cost of its products charged to patients.”

“With changes in the healthcare insurance landscape, an increasing number of people and families are enrolled in high deductible health plans. This shift, along with other insurance landscape changes, has presented new challenges for consumers, and they are bearing more of the cost.”

Mylan EpiPen Price

I see it as a dangerous combination of blame that can have ridiculous results. Between high prescription deductibles AND the increased price of the medication – families are burdened with a medication cost anywhere from $600 to $1200.

What Can You Do If You Can’t Afford an EpiPen?

EpiPen Coupon

Mylan Pharmaceutical provides a $300 off coupon (as of August 26, 2015) that has the potential to reduce your co-pay to $0 depending on your insurance.

Mylan Patient Assistance

Mylan offers a patient assistance program for patients who are uninsured or have limited income.

School Program

EpiPen4Schools® provides four (4) EpiPens, replenishment, storage and training information to U.S. schools. Tell your local school officials to apply.

Insurance Company Appeal

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) explains how to appeal to your insurance company if it denies coverage.

Get EpiPen Coupon

Epipen Price News

The high price of epipens is making headlines world wide.

Denver Post: Allergy sufferers caught between EpiPen price hike, health plan crunch

Slate.com: EpiPen costs have soured 450% in the last 12 years

My Plan to Handle EpiPen Price

One of A.J.’s two packs of the EpiPen Jr. doesn’t expire until November 2016, so I will keep that one.

The other one expired in early July 2016 (right before I made this post) and I plan to use it past the expiration date.

I will continue to call around and seek the lowest pharmacy price for the EpiPen Jr., then use the $100 off coupon to lower the price.

I will recommend that administrators at his new school apply for the EpiPen4Schools®   program to keep them stocked in the nurse’s office in case of emergency.

I’m also considering appealing to my husband’s insurer.

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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37 comments

  1. I worked as a pharmacist for a crap load of years. Mylan has been doing this for years!!! years. The first time was a medication used for diarrhea that suddenly went from 1.60 cents for 1000 pills to like $over $1,000 for the same number of pills. I mean from a Friday to a Monday and l recall telling my techs not to sticker the drug as there had to be a mistake.. Nope..called and bitched and moaned..no dice. It was real. Try being the one to tell old ladies etc. that what they paid $7.99 for last week was now ten times the price. Of course they thought it was the pharmacy. The greed of the companies are insane! I hope you find a solution..

  2. Robin Masshole Mommy

    WOW! I had no idea that is how much they cost. All parents of children with food allergies should get them for free!

  3. This is so sad. This is life or death for some people….I can’t get over the price! I don’t know how it’s even legal.

  4. That is crazy, especially when I think about how many people reply on epipens to stay alive. Healthcare is big business for a reason and this is yet another reason why they do what they do. It is a for profit business and they want ALL of our money.

  5. I wish you could have seen my face when I read the price. I am shocked! The pharmaceutical industry has gotten out of line. I just shared the post on twitter because this def needs to go viral!

  6. The cost is ridiculous. It makes no sense for it to be that much. Hopefully most families won’t actually have to inject, but who wants to take that risk. I hope they will figure out a way to lower cost. I don’t know what I would do if I had to pay that much for a prescription.

  7. Wow that’s ridiculous. Scary for people who can’t afford it, but unfortunately the pharmaceutical companies main goal is to make money.

  8. Wow! That is complete insanity. This drug should be free because so many children need it.

  9. As a lifelong asthmatic I am painfully aware of Medication Price Hikes! I also used to work for my local City Councilman in this district and we would get complaints mainly from Seniors each and every single day. This is an important factor to consider when voting this year! I wonder where the candidates stand on this very issue?
    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly recently posted..This Lifelong #Insomniac is taking back the night thanks to @ZzzQuil and @Influenster #Zzzquil #SleepLovers #Zzzquilvoxbox

  10. That is absolutely nuts! I can’t believe how much they upped the price for something so important!
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle recently posted..Always Like a Girl Campaign #Always #LikeAGirl #BeRadiant #WearWhatYouWant

  11. That’s insane! I had no idea. And how unfortunate for people who can’t afford it. Very sad.

  12. I was reading an article about the increase in epipen coat the other day. It’s horrible because this is a lifesaving medication.

  13. This boils my blood because this is a medicine used in case of emergency. This should not be priced outside of the range of a parents affordability. As someone who knows many people who work in pharma, there is enough money being made in this industry to make this drug more affordable.

    It is good to know as a teacher however that schools can apply to have pens kept at the school in case of emergency. Thanks for sharing all of the information you have learned caring for your child’s allergies.

    • Tia – I’m hoping that our school’s nurse can apply ASAP and get approved to alleviate some of the stress for parents to keep expensive Epi-Pens there too.

  14. I had no idea these costs so much money. I know that insurance companies do cover most of them, or so they did last I knew. Still the cost is crazy, wow. I am beyond shocked that epi-pens cost so much.

  15. Wow that price is insane and unfair. More and more people have food allergies these days and they can’t find a way to lower the prices of life saving medicine?? Ridiculous.

  16. Wow!!! This is crazy. They should be ashamed for this price increase.
    Sonya recently posted..Cooking with Kids: Summer Saute

  17. Great information. I am getting one next month.
    Meagan recently posted..Homeschooling When You are Broke

  18. That is a substantial increase. Unfortunately the medical industry is a billion dollar business.

  19. Wow, I didn’t Epipen costs that much. It’s really sad for people who need this.

  20. Now this is just insane. People could go into debt trying to get these for their families. I find it hard to believe that they “had no choice” but to jack the price up.

  21. This really is quite ridiculous. I have a friend who has to have EpiPens and even with her insurance they are outrageous. Thankfully there is some help out there.

  22. What?! This is too much! Why I sense that the manufacturer of this product is only after the money?!

  23. I feel glad we have something like EpiPen. Although not as severe as the one stated, my younger cousin has some nausea-related allergic reactions when he eats anything with nuts and we learned it the hard way when we were out for a coffee crumble ice cream session a decade ago. It’s a good thing that this post has suggestions adnd reminders for those who won’t be able to afford it immediately.
    Karlaroundtheworld | Karla recently posted..Have a Facial in House of Obagi : Pre-travel Ritual

  24. Im sorry but that is completely ridiculous! That is not right the medical industry in America is getting worse and worse. I have so many thoughts and feeling on how the modern medical industry is scamming people on many aspects but I wont get into it on her. I will say maybe we need to get to a point where we can research more holistic methods of aiding the allergic reactions or alternatives because it doesnt make sense for this epiPen to be $600. So many families and people will be at a serious health risk all because they cant afford it not right.

    • Thanks Kiwi. I’m hoping that in the next few years our son will outgrow his allergies. It’ll help alleviate a lot of stress and expense. But even adults become allergic to certain foods later in life.

  25. That’s insane! Life saving medications should be free! I cannot imagine how patients can just lay there helpless because they can’t afford the medicine. I hope something or some law should be passed to address this issue.

  26. Oh wow! I had no idea that this was such an issue but I’m not surprised. Everyone should have access to life saving services, and other things too like fresh foods.

  27. My mom never could afford Epipens. I have always had crazy allergies to many things and it would have been nice. It should be illegal for them to price gouge on something so necessary.

  28. What??? Seriously, that is outrageous. MOST people can’t afford an epipen.

  29. Yikes, this medication is very expensive.
    It is good to know there are options out there to make it more affordable.

  30. Wow that is really expensive. I hope those who need those don’t have to use them too often because to get another geez.
    Holly recently posted..Family Fun at the Georgia Aquarium

  31. What?! This is so expensive. Lucky I am that I don’t crave for it.

  32. I can’t imagine having to shell out that kind of money for something so necessary. They say drug companies are the devil. They may be right.

  33. That is absolutely insane. The whole cost of prescriptions and such is crazy and very sad!

  34. This makes me so angry. I still have mini panic attacks feeding my boys nuts and they have yet to have adverse reactions to them, but I remain afraid. I hope my baby girl doesn’t have any severe allergies either because… OMG, the insanity.

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