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Alternatives to the EpiPen Shortage

In May, the Food and Drug Administration reported a shortage of EpiPens because of manufacturing and delivery problems. People with food allergies have been searching high and low for EpiPens.

The EpiPen is used to stop a life-threatening allergic attack, anaphylaxis, by delivering a dose of epinephrine. The auto-injector device is small, easy to keep on one’s person, whether it be in a child’s school backpack or the briefcase of a busy professional.

Even before the shortage, customers have wondered: where can you go if you can’t afford high priced medications? The price of the medication is substantial, creating a high demand for generic options.

The FDA recently approved a new generic EpiPen made by Teva Pharmaceuticals. It will be less expensive and an alternative if there is a shortage of life-saving medication because of manufacturing and delivery again.

EpiPens, without discounts or insurance, range between $100 to $500 per two-pen package.

The government agency hopes the generic version will significantly lower the price of the medication. Unfortunately, it won’t hit the market for several months.

In the meantime, what are the alternatives for people who need EpiPens now?

OPTION 1: Hold on to your expired EpiPens

On Aug. 21, 2018, the FDA extended the expiration dates on some EpiPens of 0.3-milligram products marketed by Mylan. The company extended the expiration date by four months.

OPTION 2: Ask your doctor for a different brand

There are three leading brands that Hello SWFL recommends. EpiNephrine, Adrenaclick, and AUVI-Q.

The medication from these companies might be covered by insurance. If you experience problems with purchasing an alternative brand, request that your doctor contacts your insurance company.

He or she should explain that you don’t have access to EpiPens at your local pharmacies. Insurance companies, well aware of the shortage, will most likely comply with the request.

OPTION 3: Mail-order

Mail-order would be a great option so you don’t have to drive all across town. Unfortunately, there are no EpiPens available right now.

OPTION 4: Check Your Pharmacy’s Website

Nationwide pharmacies like CVS offer alternatives. Before heading out, check their website for additional information or call its pharmacy.

CVS Alternative : https://www.cvs.com/content/epipen-alternative

The crisis appears to have a resolution in the near future. Between October and December of 2018, Pfizer expects the EpiPen to be more readily in stock.

Additional reporting by Allyssa Dickert and Michael Adam Mora

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