Lifesaving EpiPen and new alternatives

Drug company Mylan just finalized a $465 million settlement for overcharging the government for EpiPens. The initial lawsuit ignited a firestorm over the drug’s skyrocketing price. The cost of EpiPens has shot up more than 500 percent over the past 10 years.

There are four options for people who need those injections to stay alive in an emergency. Each works slightly differently, but they all contain the same drug in the same dose. What’s best for you will depend on if you are insured and what’s covered.

Mylan started making a generic version of EpiPen in December with a retail price of $300. There is no difference between the two versions. Mylan offers some discounts and if you’re uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible for free EpiPens through its patient assistance program.

Back on the market in February, Auvi-Q uses voice commands to guide a person through an emergency. If you have insurance, a manufacturer discount could reduce your cost to zero. If you’re uninsured, you may pay either zero or $360 depending on your household income.

Another option is generic Adrenaclick, which has a special deal with CVS pharmacies for $110, but a manufacturer’s discount coupon gets the price down to $60.

Another epinephrine option called Symjepi could hit the market before the end of the year. It’s expected to be a pre-filled syringe, not an auto-injector like the others, and it could be a good lower cost alternative.

Any of these devices could save your life in an emergency, so it’s important to fully understand how the device you’re prescribed works.

To avoid potentially deadly mistakes or injuries, Consumer Reports strongly recommends asking your doctor or pharmacist for a training with your new device.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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