Save on EpiPens and Other Household Prescriptions
Save on EpiPens and other household prescriptions? It’s a question that most of us ask ourselves. As you know, healthcare in the United States can be very expensive. While our premiums continue to rise each year, our benefits seem to dwindle. We’re paying more for less coverage, alternative foods are more expensive and the lifesaving medication cost of EpiPen® feels more expensive than ever for many families.
Many are quick to point the finger at Mylan, the maker of the EpiPen®. However, just as health insurance plans are complicated, so is the the pharmaceutical supply system. The pharmaceutical supply chain not only involves pharmaceutical manufacturers, but also multiple parties such as wholesalers, pharmacy retailers, pharmacy benefit managers and payors. These parties all play a role in determining access to, and the ultimate retail price of prescription drugs.
Dan Hammer of 790 AM Fargo Moorhead interviewed me on the high cost of EpiPen®. I prepared a variety of information to share with Dan on the topic of food allergies and epinephrine, but there’s only so much time in an interview, to be exact 13 minutes and 52 seconds. ; ) Click here to listen to the full interview.
Here’s a list of suggestions on how to save money on the EpiPen® as well as other prescription drugs in your household.
Pharmacy Tips to Save on EpiPens and Other Household Prescriptions
Mylan’s $0 Copay Card: This copay card permits up to $100 off of your EpiPen® price. If your copay is under $100, you will certainly benefit from the $0 copay card. If you have a high deductible insurance plan or a tiered pharmacy plan you may pay more but still benefit by having $100 off of your purchase price.
Adrenaclick®: Amedra Pharmaceuticals, maker of the Adrenaclick®, offers what may be perceived as archaic technology with a multiple caps system, an exposed needle and more complicated instructions. While the Adrenaclick is not as widely prescribed, it can cost less than the EpiPen®. Ask your physician if this product is an option for you and your family.
Retail and Club Pharmacies: Inquire with local, national chain and club (BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s) pharmacies as prices will vary. Most club pharmacies are available to non-members as well.
Online Pharmacies: First, users of online pharmacies need to make sure that it’s a legitimate and legal pharmacy. If you purchase EpiPen® from an online pharmacy your auto-injectors may have shorter expiration windows and ship from outside of the United States, i.e., UK, Canada. You will need to decide if you’re ok with the shorter expiration lifespan and plan in advance for extra shipping time and possibly paying shipping costs. Be sure to do your homework!
Use Mail Order: Investigate your insurance plan’s mail order pharmacy options. A lower price may be available or they may provide more sets of medication for the same price. Your plan may be eligible for a three month’s supply of medication for the cost of two month’s copay. While you’re at it, check into the savings you could benefit from filling other prescriptions in your household using mail order, any savings can be deferred to the price of your EpiPen®.
Manufacturer Coupons: If other prescriptions in your household are not available in generic, take advantage of manufacturer coupons and defer the dollars saved to the purchase of your EpiPen®.
Real Life Example: A person in our household uses Pantanase® (antihistamine nasal spray) and Flonase® (an anti-inflammatory nasal spray). We were due for a refill of the Flonase® only. When I went to pick up the Flonase®, our cost was going to be $74. Our pharmacist noticed that we could benefit from switching to Dymista®, which basically combines the anti-inflammatory spray and the antihistamine spray, so we’ll only need one prescription. Currently, the manufacturer is offering a coupon of “Pay as little as $14” which means that with most eligible patients with commercial health plans, you’ll pay no more than that with the Dymista® Copay Relief Card. We’re now locked into this price for the next 12 months. While the card may not be offered in future years, we are at least saving money for the next 12-months.
Pharmacy Card: Good Rx and Blink Health are examples of these type of cards. These cards will cover brand medications when there isn’t a generic alternative available. If there is a generic alternative available, these cards may only cover the generic version.
It’s best to shop around with these types of cards and compare prices with your insurance benefit. Drug prices will even vary between your local retail pharmacies, so don’t forget to check with pharmacies within your area.
Alternatives to Save on EpiPens and Other Household Prescriptions
Speak with Your Doctor: If you’re insured, ask your doctor if he/she can write the prescription so that you can get more sets of medication for one co-pay. A set of EpiPens® is considered a 30-day supply. Your doctor may be able to ask for six injectors (3 sets) to be filled at one fill. This prescription could be filled through retail, online or a mail order pharmacy.
Evaluate Insurance Plans: If your employer offers multiple insurance plan options, evaluate your options during the next open enrollment period. Depending on the state in which you live, if your household income is below a certain level, you might be eligible for Medicaid. To learn more, visit www.healthcare.gov, or your state’s health insurance site for details.
Contact Mylan: The maker of the EpiPen®, Mylan, has a patient assistance program for qualifying patients. Patients can find out if they are eligible for the program by clicking this link or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org You may also call Mylan Customer Relations at 1-800-395-3376 to speak with a representative.
It can be tricky to save on EpiPens and other household prescriptions, so it’s always best to do your homework.
Do you have some tricks to share on how to save on EpiPens and other household prescriptions? Please leave a comment to help other families save.