Expert provides options after EpiPen price hike

Posted at 5:53 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-23 17:53:14-04

Sometimes the only thing that stands between life and death in an allergy attack is an EpiPen. Thanks to a steep price hike, those life-saving shots could cost too much for some who need it.

Signs are posted in Amber Pirotta's sixth grade classroom, warning of her severe milk allergy.

"I carry it with me all the time, even to lunch I carry it with me," Pirotta said.

Her EpiPen never leaves her. But now the EpiPen that could save her life, comes with sticker shock.

"I have health insurance, and my copay was $290," Pirotta said. "I have to have EpiPens, one way or another that has to come first."

"They increased the price from a little over $100 to about $700," doctor of pharmacy at Tampa General Hospital Drew Silverman said.

Silverman said Mylan Pharmaceuticals' main competitor to the EpiPen is now off the market, hence the price hike, but he said you can ask your doctor for a third option that can cost less than the EpiPens.

“You have to actually get your physician to write a prescription for the Adrenaclick because it can’t be substituted for the EpiPen because the technology is different," Silverman said.

If you do pay the premium for an EpiPen, you will want to make sure it lasts, so check the expiration date on the box.

"The average pen has an expiration of somewhere between like one, one and a half years, if its completely enclosed in a weather controlled environment, here in Florida one of the dangers is a lot of people keep it in their car," Silverman said.

You can also check the window on the EpiPen to make sure the liquid is clear, not cloudy. Paricles mean it could be bad.

You can get up to $100 off your EpiPen with a coupon online, like Pirotta did, if you have private insurance.

"It’s not a choice….we have to find the money one way or the other," Pirotta said.