drugs healthcare

Drug Prices: Epi-Pen

A very recent point of contention is the price of Epi-Pens® (Mylan). Epi-Pens® save the lives of people who experience anaphylactic shocks. Due to numerous petitions, Mylan claims that they dropped the price of the Epi-Pen®. But in reality, Mylan simply offered a $300 savings card to underinsured consumers (“The Other 98%”, 2017). Everyone else, even if they’re on Medicare or Medicaid, pays the full price of $600. Mylan only offered a temporary Band-Aid solution to the price controversy. If the FDA were to breakup Mylan’s monopoly of the Epi-Pen®, it would make quality healthcare a right, rather than a privilege. Auvi-Q® (Kaléo), an alternative to the Epi-Pen®, contains auto-injector technology and actually instructs the user how to administer the medication. This is a great way to help patients safely administer the life-saving medication; however, this greatly impacts the price of the drug. The company’s CEO claims that they’re still “working with stakeholders to set the price” (Bonner, 2017). The company claims to remain committed to lowering the most important price: the price to the patient.

If patient’s still are not able to afford the Epi-Pen® or Auvi-Q®, there is a generic alternative: epinephrine auto-injector. It is important that patients and prescribers are aware that the FDA does not consider the generic alternative to be equivalent to the Epi-Pen® or Auvi-Q®. This forces doctors to have to explicitly write on the prescription “epinephrine auto-injector”. This requirement is commonly overlooked as “Epi-Pen®” has become the generally accepted term for any kind of epinephrine pen.


Bonner, L. (2017). Staying in the know about EpiPen alternatives in 2017. Pharmacy Today, 23(1), 36. Retrieved from

The Other 98%. (2017). Beautiful Trouble. Retrieved from