STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – Many are struggling to afford the potentially life-saving drug, EpiPen, after its price continues to skyrocket.
Currently, a two-pack of the auto injector that dispenses epinephrine into the bloodstream costs $600.
Dennis Cuadra says EpiPen has already saved his 4-year-old daughter’s life once.
“Her throat closes, her eyes get watery, she turns blue around…the mouth.”
Until recently, he regularly bought EpiPens for Shakira, who has a severe allergy to eggs. Now Cuadra is worried that he won’t be able to buy the drug anymore.
“Last Tuesday, we went to get a prescription filled for her because school’s starting, and the EpiPen went up to $600,” he said.
Cuadra is on a waiting list to buy the medicine with help from his insurance.
“The problem is, is that school started and I’ve only got, like, four or five EpiPens and that’s not gonna last,” he said. “All of them expire in November and we’re still on hold waiting for them.”
According to allergist Dr. Asif Khan, deaths from food allergies are not common.
“It’s very rare for a death to occur from the ingestion of a food. It’s maybe one a year, maybe perhaps two,” he said.
Khan says there is an alternative to the EpiPen that only costs 30 cents a dose.
“This is the medicine that goes inside of an auto injector.”
That medicine, epinephrine, costs $18 for 60 doses, making it literally 1,000 times cheaper than one EpiPen.
Drugmaker Mylan is giving out a savings card that will cover up to $300 of an EpiPen two-pack. It is also doubling the eligibility for its patient assistance programs to help uninsured or under-insured patients.
Consumers now have the option of buying EpiPens directly from the company as well to help lower costs.