Mylan’s Expanded EpiPen Discount Just Smoke and Mirrors

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This has been a rough week for Mylan as pressure continues to grow to reduce the egregious price hikes for the EpiPen autoinjector. This morning, it seemed the epinephrine manufacturing monopoly had begun to listen to the external pressure from the outcry on social media, calls for price reductions from Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, the resignation of spokesperson Sarah Jessica Parker, and countless media reports.

We at Scratch or Sniff were happy to share the announcement today that Mylan would increase their savings program to help those in need cover their costs of new EpiPens, up to $300 out of pocket cash expenditures. Until we read further.

Here’s the catch, and it’s one that everyone needs to understand well: That savings card only works for those with commercial insurance. Period. End of story. 

Have Medicare or Medicaid? Sorry, out of luck.
Tricare? VA? DOD? No sir. But thanks for your service.
Haven’t met your deductible? Pharmacy may not honor it. #SorryNotSorry
Uninsured? Nope. Nada. Zilch. You’re the lucky ones to pay completely out of pocket.

Mylan’s Expanded EpiPen Discount Just Smoke and Mirrors
Smoke and mirrors? It seems a lot like it.

In Mylan’s news release today, the company also outlined that as a part of this relief program:

  • Mylan also is doubling eligibility for our patient assistance program to 400% of the federal poverty level. This means a family of four making up to $97,200 would pay nothing out of pocket for their EpiPen® Auto-Injector. (If you think your family qualifies, you can apply here.)
  • Further, Mylan will continue to offer theEpiPen4Schools®  The program, launched in August 2012, has provided more than 700,000 free epinephrine auto-injectors and educational resources to more than 65,000 schools nationwide to help them be prepared for anaphylaxis events among students.
  • Mylan also is opening a pathway so that patients can order EpiPen®Auto-Injector directly from the company, thereby reducing the cost.

The announcement today, in my mind, does little to nothing for many of us regular folk. It makes a great splash for Mylan, but those expecting a $300 discount from their out-of-pocket cash expenses are in for a rude awakening if they don’t examine the fine print on the savings card. The fact remains that EpiPens cost too damn much for almost anyone.

I’m glad to see Mylan take steps, but the steps are misdirecting consumers and will likely cause confusion. Is it too little too late? Perhaps, but I don’t think that it’s the last we’ve heard of this. Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, her father Senator Joe Manchin III, and the rest of Washington are getting an earful from fed up families who just want to keep their loved ones alive.

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Tiffany Self

Tiffany Self is a wife, mom to "Z", and a lover of words. In an ironic twist, she is an English class dropout who now writes for a living. Tiffany is a freelancer in the Chicago suburbs by way of Seattle and Southern Oregon. She writes about her journey of parenting a child with multiple severe food allergies, asthma, and environmental allergies. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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