Local agencies look to EpiPen alternatives after price hike - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Local agencies look to EpiPen alternatives after price hike

Source: WMBF News Source: WMBF News

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The rise in the cost of EpiPens is affecting more than just the people who need them, but there are ways to cut down on the costs. 

EpiPens did not just suddenly rise in price, but the cost for the life-saving medicine has steadily grown over the years into a burden for many people who need it.

It is also putting a strain on the agencies and pharmacies that supply it.

Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue purposefully does not carry EpiPens on board its ambulances because of the high cost. 

Authorities estimate between 80 to 90 percent of the EpiPens they carry would expire before they would be used, meaning a huge expense.

So instead, they carry vials of epinephrine, the medication that is in the EpiPen, and paramedics inject it into a patient.

This option is also available to the public. Officials said it is cheaper, but also a little more time consuming in a life-or-death situation.

"The reason everyone loves the EpiPen is because it's so convenient," said Kelsey Sproles, with Rivertown Pharmacy. "You don't have to worry about a needle or a vial and some children don't like needles. They would rather just see the EpiPen and not the needle at all. But it's definitely an option for those that absolutely need it and if the numbers just aren't crunching for them. So that's definitely something they can talk to their doctor about."

Officials with MBFR said the cost of the epinephrine in the vial, the needle and syringe is less than $10 for them.

That is a dramatic reduction in price compared to the hundreds of dollars that would be needed to cover the medication in an EpiPen.

For those who want to try out the vials, they will need a doctor to write that out specifically on a prescription.

Residents can also seek out manufacturer coupons or apply for Mylan's patient assistance program.

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