Health and Science

Kmart Pharmacy sharply cuts price of Adrenaclick, competitor to EpiPen anti-allergy device

Key Points
  • Andrenaclick will cost $0 for insured customers, and $199.99 for cash-paying customers.
  • Move follows similar price offering for Adrenaclick by CVS Pharmacy in January
  • Prescriptions for alternatives to EpiPen have quadrupled since 2017 began.
Adrenaclick anti-allergy medicine and competitor to Epi-Pen.
Source: Adrenaclick

And the reactions to EpiPen's high prices just keep on coming.

Kmart on Tuesday announced that its pharmacy division is sharply cutting the price of a generic competitor to the anti-allergy EpiPen, with commercially insured customers having to pay $0 out of pocket for it.

Cash-paying patients will have to fork out $199.99 for the generic Adrenaclick auto-injector device at Kmart Pharmacy.

Before the price cuts, the generic Andrenaclick was selling for $573.79 at Kmart Pharmacy.

Kmart said, "The new low price of Adrenaclick is possible through Kmart's lowered pricing, combined with a manufacturer's coupon."

In contrast to Adrenaclick, the brand-name version of EpiPen sells for $642.69 for a two-pack, while a "generic" version of EpiPen sells $330 at Kmart Pharmacy. There is no difference between the two products that are sold by pharmaceuticals giant Mylan other than their packaging.

Mylan drew outrage from consumers last year for having increased the price of the brand-name EpiPen from about $90 a decade ago to more than $600 by 2016, a rise of more than 500 percent. The company introduced its generic version of EpiPen in December at half the price of the brand-name version, in response to criticism over the price hikes.

Mylan NV EpiPen 2-Pak medication
George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Both Andrenaclick and EpiPen contain the drug epinephrine, which is used to counteract the potentially fatal allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

"When the price of epinephrine skyrocketed, Kmart understood the critical impact it would have on our customers and worked to make access affordable," said Jennifer Speares Lehman, director of compliance and administration for Kmart Pharmacy, a unit of Sears Holdings.

Kmart's move comes three months after its competitor CVS Pharmacy said it would sell Adrenaclick for $110 for cash-paying customers, who could get a $100 discount off that price by using a coupon. Commercially insured customers could pay $0 for Adrenaclick by using the coupon.

Also in January, major health insurer Cigna said it would no longer cover customers' purchases of the brand-name EpiPen. Cigna, however, will cover the generic EpiPen.

In March, the health-care data company AthenaHealth reported that prescriptions for alternatives to EpiPen had quadrupled since the start of 2017.

That time period captured sales of the generic version of EpiPen, the decisions by CVS and Cigna, as well as the release of another competitor to EpiPen, Auvi-Q from Kaleo.

Since the beginning of 2016, AthenaHealth noted, the percentage of prescriptions for epinephrine auto-injectors other than EpiPen had more than doubled.

"Before news of the price hikes broke, prescriptions for EpiPens had been steadily increasing since 2013 — peaking every year in August, when parents of children with severe allergies typically stock up on the life-saving devices for use in school," AthenaHealth said in a write-up of its findings.

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