Interest in an alternative to the pricey EpiPen skyrockets

SPOKANE, Wash. – Families have been looking to get EpiPens at a cheaper cost ever since the cost skyrocketed, but now the Better Business Bureau is warning shoppers to use caution when looking for their prescriptions.

It has been challenging for families, who say they just do not know what to do now that the out-of-pocket cost for EpiPens is over $600. For some, that means getting that medication outside of the traditional pharmacy.

The Better Business Bureau sent out a note Friday encouraging buyers against getting their EpiPens (or any prescription medicine) from places like Craigslist.

The BBB also said the illegally obtained prescriptions could be expired.

“This is a cause for concern because drugs are typically ineffective after they pass their ‘sale by date,’" wrote the BBB in the release. “Check expiration dates even when buying medications from a pharmacist.”

And finally, the dosage could be wrong on the EpiPen.

“There’s a reason you need a prescription to buy drugs,” explained the BBB in the release. “Doctors have to determine the dosage, which can vary from patient to patient.”

For people willing to shop off-brand for their emergency allergy medicine, there is an alternative.

The Adrenaclick version of an auto-injector has the same medicine, but the mechanism inside the tool is slightly different.

A pharmacist explained to KREM 2 that even though the same medicine is inside the injector, the device is slightly different so pharmacists cannot automatically substitute it for an EpiPen. Patients will have to ask for it specifically from their doctor so they can change their prescription.

The pharmacist said learning to use the new mechanism should only take a few minutes.

There is also an application for smart phones that will let patients shop around for cheaper medicine called GoodRx. Using the phone’s location, it will tell patients where to get their medicine with the cheapest price tag.

(© 2016 KREM)


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