Pharmacy owner says too early to tell if families will save money with generic EpiPen

The maker of EpiPen is launching a new version that could not only save your child’s life, but save you money too.

Mylan Pharmaceuticals announced on Monday it will soon offer a generic EpiPen after criticism about the rising cost.

Ashley Hopper says her 7-year-old son, Jacob, is allergic to almost everything: grass, trees, dogs, cats, mold, roaches and the list goes on.

"I don’t know what to keep him away from," says Hopper. "I don’t know how to protect him."

This year, even with insurance, Hopper says she had to refinance a loan to pay for her son’s EpiPen. When it expires in a year, she’ll have to buy him another one.

"What am I going to have to give up to make sure that we have his life?" says Hopper.

It’s a question Hopper might not have to answer next time, because Mylan Pharmaceuticals is coming out with a generic version of its $600 EpiPen. They say it will cost you 50 percent less than what it does now, but that’s still $300.

Marshall Davis, owner of Davis Drugs in Paducah, says it’s too soon to tell how much your family will pay.

"Sometimes the PBMs restrict us to only use the branded product," says Davis.

A PBM, or prescription benefit manager, is basically a middle man between the pharmacy and your insurance company. Davis says they control your access to certain medications, such as the EpiPen.

"As far as how the prescription benefit managers or the PBMs are going to handle that, we really don’t know until we start processing claims," says Davis.

"If you can tell me that it’s the same medicine in it and that it’s going to do the exact same thing, that’s what I’m going to go for, because that’s what I can afford," says Hopper.

Mylan says its generic EpiPen will be identical to the ones some families are using now. The pharmaceutical company says it plans to have the generic ready within the next several weeks.

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