Tips for getting an affordable Epi-pen

Food allergies are scary, exhausting, and difficult to manage.  From the first reaction, the doctors’ appointments and testing, the food-purge, and the education and advocation of others, there are so many bases you have to cover, and so many discussions around each.  However, people often forget to mention the costs.

When I worked in a Medication Assistance program, we often used a pharmacy resource call RXOutreach that sold expensive medications to patients who were no more than FPL.  Unfortunately, looking now they are charging $200 for a pack of two as well.

Those who don’t have insurance and are no more than 200% of the FPL are eligible for Mylan’s Prescription Assistance Program (PAP); however, the paperwork required and turnaround time for processing could be 2 months or more.  The application has to be printed and mailed in with financial documentation, proof of no insurance, and a prescription from your doctor.  The application can be printed here: mylan-epipen-frm

In one of my online support groups, citizens from Canada have suggested having your doctor send in your script to a Canadian pharmacy and have it mailed to you.  The cost would then be between $5 and $20.  This could take a month to receive.  My only concerns with this is knowing whether or not the pharmacy you use is legit and the fact they are not FDA monitored/approved.

If you have insurance, do not fear; there is still an option for you. Mylan also offers a My EpiPen Savings Card, boasting a $0 copay for 6 pens for those with insurance.   This, of course, comes with an asterisk.  The card only covers $300, so if your insurance still expects you to pay $300, then that is your responsibility.  Lauren Reiniger has a blog post about her own struggles with the cost of Epi-pens despite the fact that she has insurance: “The EpiPen Might Save My Life, But Not Before it Breaks My Bank“.

Unfortunately, there are those who cannot wait for a prescription from Canada or the drug company, those who aren’t eligible for prescription savings, and those with no money, so what choice do they have?  Is it fair that they should take the chance, risk their life?  The issue of food allergies already has so many added costs, it doesn’t make sense that this one life saving drug should be so inaccessible to those who really need it.

~Lacey

*Permission granted by Lauren Reiniger to mention/link to the post “The EpiPen Might Save My Life, But Not Before it Breaks My Bank“.

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3 thoughts on “Tips for getting an affordable Epi-pen

  1. A couple comments from Canada, specifically the province of Ontario (all $ in CAD):

    Epipens, on average, cost 115$ CAD each at the moment. There aren’t any double packs available that I’ve ever seen- and I suspect they’d have told me about them, as I’ve needed to use 9 this year alone. I think maybe 5-20$ is what it would cost in mailing fees. There’s also the pharmacy’s “dispensing fee” which varies around here from 7-12$.

    As for figuring out the legitimacy of a pharmacy in Canada- they are governed by their professional associations, so it’s pretty rare to find one that’s illegitimate in the main cities anyways! I have run into problems with incompetent pharmacists, but that’s a different issue. I think you’d also have to factor in import duties, and whatever extra taxes might be involved… But anyways I really don’t think the cost is that different between our countries. Besides- the Mylan cards only apply to US citizens residing in the US… So at least you have an advantage there!

    I’m lucky, so with my benefits at work I get that mostly covered (only 25$). There are some drug plans available through the provincial governments, but these are hard to get access to, and have a high premium. For everyone else, the meds aren’t covered.

    Let’s not forget the ambulance ride & mandatory hospital visit, either. With provincial insurance it’s 45$, and then my benefits covers 80%. If you’re from outside the province, it’s 240$. Hospital fees here are entirely covered by the same provincial insurance plan, but I cannot imagine what kind of debt I would be racking up right now if I lived in the US.

    Hang in there, everyone! Someday maybe another competitor will become approved, and not get recalled…. Or maybe we’ll invent hyposprays and the auto-injector device could simply be reloaded with another dose. I feel so wasteful tossing Epipens all the time!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is great information to know. I’ve talked with several others in Canada, and thought the $5-20 cost was too good to be true.
      My only issue with the differences between Canadian and US regulated phramacies and such is that the US has strict regulations regarding mailing of medications and keeping them at appropriate temperatures. I’m not sure if the same would apply with Canadian pharmacies. Living in Savannah, GA where summer temperatures can soar over 100 degrees, I would need the guarantee that my medication would be store properly.
      Reloadable injectors would be awesome. I get the ease of application with just sticking it in, but the ability to reuse them would probably help with the cost.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, definitely- I accidentally froze an epipen once (left it overnight in the car…oooops), and here in Ottawa we tend to range from -40F in the winter to 104 F in the summer. We were already at 95F last week, and it’s only just officially summer!

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