Increasingly, since I began writing Food Allergy Buzz, people are searching for lower cost and/or easier ways of obtaining epinephrine. Among the keyword searches, I see "epipen over the counter", "are epipens over the counter", "cost of epipen", and "epipen otc".
Can epinephrine injectors--often referred to as Epipens, the way facial tissue is called Kleenex--be purchased over the counter as of today, August 14, 2012, in the U.S.? The answer is no. At least for now, a prescription is required to purchase epinephrine injectors.
Are Epipens covered by insurance? Sometimes Epipens are covered by insurance. It depends on the insurance coverage you have.
How much do Epipens cost, if you pay out of pocket? Word on the street is that a set of Epipens costs approximately $100.
Yesterday, it was announced that a new epinephrine injector has been approved by FDA, a compact talking injector that helps walk you through the administration of epinephrine. Based on the tweets I read, this announcement was met with positive reaction throughout the food allergy community. I think the addition of this form of epinephrine to the market raises some additional questions:
Will traditional epinephrine injectors become OTC? If so, how much will they cost?
Will this new injector, Auvi-Q, be covered by insurance? Again, this is a question for your individual medical insurance provider. One could speculate that if an epinephrine injector is covered, insurance companies may only cover the cost of the least expensive option, which I am guessing will be the traditional epinephrine injectors.
It will be interesting to see how widespread use of Auvi-Q will be and whether it will replace traditional Epipens. Stay tuned!