CVS Selling Generic Version of EpiPen for Drastically Lower Price

The pharmacy is charging the authorized generic for roughly one sixth the price of the EpiPen

CVS Selling Generic Version of EpiPen for Drastically Lower Price
Image: CVS
January 12, 2017

In the past, the only competitor to the expensive allergy treatment EpiPen was the lesser-known Adrenaclick. Then Mylan, the maker of the EpiPen, launched its own generic version. Now, thanks to CVS, consumers have a third and even less-expensive option: a generic version of Adrenaclick.

As Consumeristexplains, it has not been easy to find pharmacies that carry Adrenaclick, and some charged consumers almost as much for it as they did for the EpiPen. CVS has come up with a solution to these problems: an authorized Adrenaclick generic that costs only $110 for two injectors. This is still not cheap, but it is around one sixth of the price of the EpiPen, which now costs more than $600, and it is just above one third of the $300 price of Mylan's own generic.

Consumers with current prescriptions for an EpiPen will need to speak to their doctors to make sure that CVS's generic matches their needs. In addition, any doctor who wants their patients to be able to get the generic will have to write a prescription for an "epinephrine auto-injector" rather than a specific brand.

According to CVS, those patients who already have a prescription for the EpiPen on file with the pharmacy can request that their pharmacist check with their doctor to make sure they can change over to the generic.

This announcement was made one day after Cigna, one of the biggest insurance companies in the U.S. , announced that it will not be covering the EpiPen any longer, though it will cover Mylan's less-expensive generic.

Mylan came under heavy fire from the public and lawmakers last year due to its drastic raises of the price of the EpiPen. It has increased the cost of the life-saving drug by 600 percent since it first acquired the EpiPen brand almost ten years ago.

It was also discovered that Mylan has been overcharging Medicaid by categorizing the EpiPen the same way as generics that have several competitors. In reality, there were almost no competing products. Before the government could figure out exactly how much Mylan had overcharged it, the Justice Department settled with the company for $465 million. This deal was greatly criticized by lawmakers and the public for both allowing Mylan to avoid admitting its liability in the case and for letting it take the settlement amount as a pre-tax payment, since this meant that the settlement actually reduced the company's tax bill.