Cigna not covering EpiPen due to high cost

Posted January 13, 2017

This week, Cigna was added to the list stating it will only cover the generic version. Pharmaceutical giant Mylan was embroiled in a controversy about its drug pricing previous year when it hiked the price of EpiPen by more than 400 percent.

"The generic version, available now in pharmacies, has the same drug formulation and device functionality as the branded medication, but at a substantial cost savings", Cigna spokeswoman Karen Eldred said.

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Both Adrenaclick and EpiPen give an emergency injection of epinephrine to treat a life-threatening allergic reaction, or anaphylactic shock. That often forces patients to fill new prescriptions even if they never used the old one.

Almost 150,000 people signed a petition in 2016 calling for a lower-priced epinephrine auto-injector option, she said.

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CVS' move comes amid widespread uproar over drug price gouging. The cost of the autoinjector has risen about 400 percent since 2009 - which has directed heavy fire toward Mylan for hiking the price on a product people need to stay alive. It also recommended a rival generic version of the drug to its customers that is made by Impax Laboratories and priced at around $200/two-pack, which works out as a cheaper option compared to Mylan's own generic version priced at $300/two-pack, which was released in December. Mylan's stock price dropped more than 4%.

Consumers will be able to purchase Adrenaclick beginning Thursday at any CVS pharmacy, and CVS will also still carry the traditional EpiPen, according to CVS Pharmacy President Helena Foulkes.

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CVS said the $109.99 price will apply to insured and cash-paying patients, while some patients will qualify for a coupon program that would offer a benefit of $100 a pack. This after public resentment of skyrocketing drug costs and attacks from President-elect Trump.