You Can Finally Buy a Generic EpiPen, But It’s Still Not Cheap
Remember the howls of outrage earlier this year when the manufacturer of the EpiPen massively jacked up the price of those lifesaving devices?
Targeted by federal investigations and blistering criticism from angry parents and members of Congress, the company has been in full-on damage control mode ever since.
If you’ve been bitten by EpiPen price increases, there’s finally some good news: EpiPen manufacturer Mylan is starting to sell a cheaper generic version of it. It should show up in pharmacies starting this week.
The generic version will sell for $300 per two-pack, less than half the price of the name-brand product.
The EpiPen is an auto-injector that administers a dose of epinephrine when someone with allergies goes into anaphylactic shock. The potentially life-threatening reaction causes the person’s blood pressure to drop suddenly and their airways to constrict, often interrupting normal breathing. Millions of people must have an EpiPen handy at all times.
Since Mylan acquired the rights to the device nearly 10 years ago, it has raised the price 15 times, from roughly $100 per two-pack to well over $600.
Our Prices Are Ca-raaazy
When The Penny Hoarder called around to pharmacies to see what they were charging for EpiPens after the dramatic price hike earlier this year, we were quoted prices ranging from $683 to $762.
Of course, many people with allergies pay less than that because their insurance covers part of the cost, or they qualify for discounts. But some pay the full price out of pocket.
The end result: Now the manufacturer makes a generic version. Its box is labeled “Epinephrine Injection, USP Auto-Injectors.” It works the same way and administers the same drug.
Not everyone’s celebrating the lower-cost generic version, though. Critics are grumping that the device still costs three times as much as when Mylan first acquired rights to it.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, tweeted (use Bernie Sanders voice here), “This isn’t a discount. It’s a PR move.”
Your Turn: How much have you had to pay for an EpiPen?
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He has wicked allergies, but they only require the use of Kleenex.