EpiPen costs skyrocket; Alternative methods available

The price of EpiPens has gone up 450 percent since 2004

The price of EpiPens has gone up 450 percent since 2004.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Epinephrine auto injectors such as Twinject and the EpiPen are popular for millions of people who worry about allergic reactions. The problem is, they aren’t cheap.

The price for the most popular ones have gone up 450 percent since 2004 for the name-brand injection used to treat allergic reactions.

More than 3.5 million prescriptions were written last year for these kits, yet many people who carry it around may not even need it.

“I know that for a fact because patients say, ‘Can you throw this away for me? I’ve had it for a year, and I haven’t needed to use this,’” he said.  This is obviously good news to not having to need it, but many instances, they may no longer need it.”

As costs skyrocket, if financial hardships are unavoidable, or if you do not have insurance, Dr. Khan provided an example of a cheaper alternative to treat allergic reactions. That alternative is paying just $1 or less for each dose, or $30 for a vial of 50-100 doses, of epinephrine.

That is opposed to costs of around $300 for one or two injections through the epinephrine auto injector.

He stated many with a known allergy to something life-threatening wisely avoid it. There are some instances when you might come in contact with something accidentally.  When it is too costly to carry one, this may be a reason why Dr. Khan understands a trend in which families are requesting a simple syringe to use with a vial of epinephrine.

Many emergency medical personnel are now using the more cost-effective method.  After proper training, the shot can be loaded into a syringe and given quickly.

“Even in emergency situations, one can draw up the medicine in about 30 seconds, in fact, which is sufficient time for you to get to a particular emergency situation and administer the medication,” he said.  Granted, Dr. Khan understands these events are stressful, and having a convenient dose ready to administer is valuable.

The auto-injector feature is what makes epinephrine auto-injectors so simple to use, but with that convenience, now comes a cost. And parents are starting to see they have an option worth exploring.

Khan said parents, if requested, can be trained to administer the injections.

“Basically, if you train them once or twice a year, because it’s rare to see a reaction more than once a year, then this will be an adequate cost effective replacement,” he said.

Dr. Khan did mention coupon and free sample programs from epinephrine auto-injector companies, but again, the cost of this good will gesture should not be passed onto the consumer.

Nearly all states require schools to carry them, and Dr. Khan believes that’s possibly one reason why they cost so much.

Comments are closed.