EpiPen Alternative Costs $4,500, But Many Get It For Free

NEW YORK (CBS) – After the price of EpiPens rose to more than $600 last year, the ensuing controversy led to the rise of much cheaper generic auto-injectors.

So why is there buzz surrounding a newer alternative that costs $4,500?

auvi q EpiPen Alternative Costs $4,500, But Many Get It For Free

The Auvi-Q and the EpiPen (Image credit: CBS This Morning)

CBS News reports that families dealing with life-threatening allergies are looking at the Auvi-Q , which is smaller and comes with a voice instructor. The list price may be expensive, but an affordability program by drugmaker Kaleo means families are paying nothing in out-of-pocket costs.

“It’s an access model built for patients,” Kaleo CEO Spencer Williamson told CBS News. “And so the way our program works is that anyone with commercial insurance, whether it’s covered or not, even a high-deductible plan, they’ll get it for zero dollars.”

auvi price EpiPen Alternative Costs $4,500, But Many Get It For Free

(Image credit: CBS This Morning)

Sound too good to be true? One expert tells CBS News that the strategy comes down to hoping some insurers will cover the high cost despite the availability of much cheaper generics.

“It’s an insane system. No rational designer would sit down with a clean sheet of paper and say you know what, let’s do it this way,” pharmaceutical industry analyst Richard Evans said.

See the full report from CBS News here.

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