Area allergist gives alternative prescription to EpiPen due to cost concerns from patients

Posted at 2:27 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:35-04

The price of a medication used during allergic emergencies have prompted an area allergist to give more prescription options to his patients.

The epinephrine auto-injectors known as EpiPen can cost up to $600, if an insurance company doesn't cover it.

"Unfortunately some of them do without. They just run the risk of going without because they can't afford it," Texan Allergy Physician Assistant Donnie Stone said.

According to Stone, after patients voiced concerns about the cost of the life-saving medication, he started giving them two prescription options, including EpiPen and an off-brand medication. When he offers that off-brand options, he pairs it with coupons online, which can bring the cost of the epinephrine medication to $200 or less.

This as a way to prevent those with food allergies or who have severe allergic reactions after getting allergy shots from going without epinephrine.

"The thing we worry about most is severe swelling of the tongue and closing of the throat that causes shortness of breath and can lead a fatality, if it's not treated properly," Stone said.

Erin Poteet, who was prescribed Epipen during the time she was getting allergy shots, did not have a severe allergic reaction during that time so she didn't have to use the epinephrine auto injectors. However, she said if she had to buy it again at the regular $600 in the future, it would be difficult.

"I would find a way whether it is cutting out on eating out.I would have to find a way. In a life or death situation, if you have that reaction, that would make a difference so you have to have it," Poteet said.

Mylan, the pharmaceutical company behind the EpiPen, also launched an EpiPen Savings Card, which can provide up to $300 in savings for each two-pack for patients who have commercial health insurance. It has also launched a generic auto-injector at half of the cost with up to $25 off out-pocket costs for eligible patients.

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