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  • Writer's pictureDr. Disha

Frugal Hacking the Epi Pen

Today, I’d like to share with you a frugal hack that has really made a difference in my household. 

If you have anyone with anaphylactic allergies in your household, you are probably aware of the EpiPen price gouging controversy in 2016.  The CEO admitted to increasing the price of an EpiPen two-pack nearly 550% to over $608.  

For those of us on high deductible plans, all of this mulah comes right out of pocket.  

Why do Epi Pens cost so much??

Epinephrine is a lifesaving drug for anyone with anaphylactic (life threatening) allergies. When the body is going into histamine overdrive and mucous membranes are swelling to ultimately close off the trachea and cut off air flow, epinephrine can give someone another couple of minutes of air so that they can call 911 or get to a hospital in time to save their life.

People with life threatening allergies are generally advised by their physicians to have epinephrine on them at all times. *Our schools require kids with allergies to have non-expired epi pens on file with the nurse (this is relevant because they expire in one year).

After a nationwide uproar, the cost of EpiPens came down to somewhere around $350 a pair for most insurance plans. GoodRx has a coupon on their site for $113.50 at walgreens for generic EpiPens.

In my household, we have three people with anaphylactic allergies and these suckers expire yearly, so we were spending a buckload on EpiPens every year.

Last time I went into anaphylactic shock, I was on an expedition into the Amazon with this lot (Yours truly to the very right). I owe them for carrying me on a makeshift gurney almost a mile through the jungle and for the shaman for saving my life.

The Frugal Hack: Auvi Q

When you don’t have a magical shaman on hand like I did in the Amazon (see above), having epinephrine on hand is pretty key if you have anaphylactic allergies.  Even though the medicine itself is super cheap, the autoinjectors are ridiculously marked up.  

I posted about my frustrations on The Frugal Physicians and many people suggested I try out Auvi-Q.  I’m so glad I did. 

It has brought down the cost to… wait for it.. Dun dun dun..  $25 a pair!  Some people with commercial insurance can pay as little as $0.  And they deliver it to the house.  To top it off, the injector has audio built-in that guides you through how to use the medication.  Thanks to the trainer, both my toddlers are now experts at how to self inject in case of an emergency (though I wouldn’t advise this!).  

If your doctor thinks Auvi-Q is the right for you,  you can get them to fill out this form and fax it in.  Then, the company calls you and tells you what your co-pay will be, takes payment, and sets up the delivery.  The medication is delivered through “Kaleo cares” a company with a really wonderful mission put as such on their website:

“In this era of high deductible health plans, many patients find it harder than ever to afford their medications. Kaléo is committed to the belief that patients with commercial insurance, or those facing financial hardship, should be able to obtain our potentially lifesaving products for little to no out-of-pocket cost.”

In Conclusion

TFP has no financial relationship with Kaleo.  This service has made such a difference in my household.  We were paying $1000 a year for EpiPens which were rarely used (thankfully).  Now, the cost is more manageable and fair.     Before you switch, make sure to talk to your doctor about whether this service would be right for you.

Stay frugal, y’all!


Standard Disclaimer: Not meant as individualized financial or medical advice. Please talk to your physician about whether this service is right for you.


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