(Update from 7/30/14: Click here to read statements from both companies referenced below)
When we re-fill epinephrine auto-injector prescriptions it feels a little like checking a scratch card – what will the expiration date be? I think many of you are in the same situation.
This is not a new issue, I mentioned it in my post about the most recent Legislative Healthcare Committee Meeting and in my Mylan Summit post, but as I type this is I have just returned from paying $233.86 (after the $100 copay card, Mylan has one as well) for an Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injector set of two that expires January 2015. The last Auvi-Q I obtained had an expiration date fourteen months out from the date of purchase and this one is 8 months. So I know it is possible to be 12-14 months out on an auto-injector. Anything less than a year is a problem considering the costs for families alone and that the high cost may cause families to stop filling their prescriptions.
Our Voices are Louder Together
I am fortunate that I can pay the cost of the medication (our insurance does not cover or alleviate prescription drug costs) but that does not mean it is ideal. I specifically requested that they order the Auvi-Q last week in hopes of getting a newer one but it was not enough. I would love to gather your experiences and submit them to both Mylan and Sanofi as there has to be a better option in all of this.
When I saw the Auvi-Q expiration date I asked to see an EpiPen one and it was February of 2015 to the Auvi-Q’s January 2015. I stuck with the Auvi-Q because the voice guidance puts my daughter’s teacher at ease and because the expiration date was not that much better (February 2015). Still a significant amount of time less than the 12 months we all aim for. After, I called Jenny and vented and she suggested that I should have left the medicine there and called around town to find a better expiration date but we’re already 12 days into May and my daughter’s injector expired April 2014. So here I am, hoping that when the time comes in January to obtain a refill that there will have been true changes in the system so that other families as well as ours are not in the same boat. Also feeling grateful that I have people I can call and know they will share my frustration about things like this.
Anecdotal reports include hearing that pharmacies in town offering a discount on injectors that expire sooner (like 50% off on one that is six months out) but I don’t know which pharmacy that would be. We only buy one set every time we need a refill because of the cost and because my daughter self carries. I carry an expired set in my purse just because something is better than nothing as a backup.
At any rate, please let me know either at my email homa at woodrumlaw dot com or here in the comments about your experiences and I would like to put together a letter to both Mylan and Sanofi asking about our options. I have a feeling that the issue is on the pharmacy side of things because reps from Mylan and Sanofi have mentioned that the dates should be at least a year out. I am not placing blame as much as feeling baffled that if companies are telling me all pharmacies have to do is exchange older injectors for newer ones, why are they not doing it? Why discount them or force them on consumers that aren’t going to risk not having them in the event of an allergic emergency.
Thank you in advance for your input on this one, I will keep you posted.
Disclosure: I attended Mylan’s Summit last month but my opinions are my own – more detailed disclosure here and here. Sanofi and Mylan have both been sponsors of the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference, of which I am a co-owner. My opinions, as always, are my own and are not representative of my position at Food Allergy Bloggers Conference LLC or the real or perceived benefits from either company.