Could There Be A New, Completely Free EpiPen Alternative On the Horizon?

One of the biggest controversies of 2016 was the Mylan price increase of the EpiPen allergy intervention that many people cannot live without. You may recall that EpiPen maker, Mylan, drastically increased the price of the adrenaline auto-injector medication to $600 (or more) retail, which is a markup of roughly 500 percent.

The drug maker, of course, argued that its trademark was about to run out so it was intending to release a generic version, but the huge price jump distracted from any potentially positive development that could have come out of it. Indeed, CVS has just announced its EpiPen alternative—which will be available for just $10—and another alternative is about to return to the market.

Kaleo Pharma’s Auvi-Q auto-adrenaline injection allergic anaphylaxis intervention was recalled last fall but is making its safe—and triumphant—return on February 14. Now, at $360 it is nowhere near the inexpensive CVS alternative, but the company is saying that there are many ways you can get the drug for free.

First of all, you can get the Kaleo Auvi-Q product for free—no out of pocket deductible—through your health insurance; even if you have high deductibles. Secondly, the company says that they want to make the product free to patients without insurance and live in a household with an income below $100,000 per year. Obviously, this means the drug is probably going to be available to a vast majority of Americans since many now have insurance—through the Affordable Care Act—and those who do not have health insurance are probably at or near the poverty line.

However, you must also know that the starting price for the Auvi-Q drug will be $4,500. Health insurance companies, then, are going to have to negotiate around this.

Kaleo Chief Executive Spencer Williamson said, in an e-mail, “In order to help ensure Auvi-Q is available as an option to eligible patients for $0 out-of-pocket, we set the list price at $4,500.”

He goes on to say, “It’s important to note that nobody pays the list price, and that the most important price is the price to the patient. No epinephrine auto-injector, branded or even generic, will cost a commercially insured patient less out-of-pocket than Auvi-Q.”