Rising cost of EpiPens impacts Pine Belt patients

Rising cost of EpiPens impacts Pine Belt patients

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Many folks with severe allergies rely on EpiPens to help reverse allergic reactions, but the cost of the devices have risen more than 400 percent since 2009.

Kim Rodgers is a pharmacist and the owner of Rodgers Family Pharmacy in Petal.

He said the price for EpiPens is 10 times higher than when he began his career 31 years ago.

"EpiPen prices have gone from costing maybe 50 or 60 dollars when I originally got out of pharmacy school years ago, and the list price on a twin pack is now 760 dollars," Rodgers said.

Rodgers said the average medication shelf life is at least two to three years, but for an EpiPen twin pack the shelf life is a year or less.

"Sometimes we get EpiPens in here that have six months shelf life," Rodgers said. "Of course what that means for the patient is that within a year they're going to have to repurchase the EpiPen to have it on hand in case of an emergency.

An EpiPen savings card can help customers save $100 on their payment.

"If you have private insurance, your co-pay for a brand name like Epipen may be $100," Rodgers said. "Well this coupon will pay 100 dollars so you might actually get your EpiPen at no charge."

But the card does not comply with all insurance plans.

"If you are a Tri-care military retiree or Medicare Part D, you can't use the card," Rodgers said. "If you're a cash paying customer, unfortunately the card will only pay up to 100 dollars."

Rodgers said EpiPen is a costly, but necessary investment.

"EpiPen is truly a lifesaving product and unfortunately the price has gotten outrageous," Rodgers said.

Rodgers said there are generic alternatives to the EpiPen, but the prices are as high as $500 to $600.