In recent months, drug company Mylan increased the price for its EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. 2-Paks to $600 plus; an estimated 400% increase compared to its original cost of around $100 in 2007. The skyrocketed cost has sparked outrage amongst consumers. The controversy has even made its way up to Congress and continues to unfold weekly. In the midst of the EpiPen controversy, how can nurse practitioners make sure their patients can afford the life-saving drug?
Unfortunately for EpiPen users, Mylan essentially has a monopoly on epinephrine auto-injectors as there are almost no other products like it. Until Mylan introduces its generic, more affordable, version of EpiPen for $300 (as it has stated it will do in the very near future) there are several coupons and discount programs available that nurse practitioners can make their patients aware of in order to help them afford the potentially-life saving drug-device combination.
Mylan’s My EpiPen Savings Card promises to reduce the amount of out-of-pocket expenses up to a maximum of $300 per pack; meaning that some patients may leave the pharmacy counter without having to pay anything out of pocket for their prescription. The offer is valid for up to three EpiPen 2-Pak cartons and can be used for a total of six times until its expiration on December 31st of this year. However, there are several requirements that patients must meet in order to be eligible for the offer. The card is not available to uninsured patients, or to patients enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, or any state or federally funded health plan, including military plans.
Fortunately, Mylan offers an alternative option for patients who do not qualify for the My EpiPen Savings Card through its Patient Assistance Program. The program offers free EpiPens to those below 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, based upon family size. To enroll, patients must complete the patient assistance program form with their physician.
Through HelpRX.info’s offer, patients can easily access and print three SingleCare EpiPen vouchers with no sign-up or eligibility requirements. The vouchers promise savings of up to 75% on three refills. The vouchers are valid for one year from the date of redemption and are accepted exclusively at SingleCare partner pharmacies including Wal-Mart, Walgrees, CVS, Kroger, Rite Aid, Target, Duane Reade, Harris Teeter, Long Drugs and Fry’s. All a patient has to do in order to redeem the savings is show the card to their pharmacist.
Other Money Saving Alternatives
Encouraging your patients to check the cost of their prescription at various pharmacies can mean the difference of $50 or so; and with the combination of a coupon, it could mean having no out-of-pocket expense at all. Sites such as LowestMed.com make comparing local pharmacies’ costs as simple as entering the patients’ zipcode.
Though not ideal in comparison to EpiPen, talk with your patient about switching to Adrenaclick’s epinephrine auto-injector. Currently, Adrenaclick is the only pharmaceutical company in the US that offers an alternative generic epinephrine auto-injector; but it is not an exact generic of EpiPen. The company, like EpiPen, also offers a similar savings card and, uninsured patients are also eligible to use the card. Patients may receive up to $300 off their out-of-pocket cost and likewise may have no co-pay at all.
The Future of EpiPen and Mylan
Mylan hopes that its recent 465 million dollar settlement with the US Justice Department will resolve some of its hot-water troubles. However, the saga for EpiPen and Mylan isn’t over quite yet, leaving an uncertain future. Despite the legal battles, the company is still planning to release its promised generic version as well as to extend the shelf life of its name brand product to two years.
Are your patients having difficulty affording the EpiPen?
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