Walgreens tackles EpiPen shortage

Walgreens is teaming up with Kaléo to offer an EpiPen alternative amid a shortage of the potentially life-saving medicine, as kids begin the new school year. In some cases, the medicine will be free.

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The drug store chain said they will make Kaléo's Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injectors available at its stores nationwide and will offer them at no cost to commercially-insured patients who are eligible for Kaléo's patient support programs.

“Thanks to this collaboration with Walgreens, any patient who is having difficulty filling a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector now has the opportunity to get AUVI-Q through Walgreens,” Phil Rackliffe, general manager of Allergy and Pediatrics at Kaléo, said in a statement. “We are working with insurance providers to maximize coverage of AUVI-Q for as many patients as possible,” according to Rackliffe’s statement in Walgreens’ press release.

Auvi-Q was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat patients with emergency allergic reactions. In extreme cases these reactions can include anaphylaxis, which can cause death.

According to the FDA, there is a shortage of EpiPens, and the timing is bad, with kids back in school.

While there is a shortage of name-brand EpiPens, they are also expensive. According to Drugs.com, name-brand EpiPen or EpiPen Jr. packages (which contains two auto-injectors) will cost roughly $650, although there may be coupons available to lower the cost.

“For patients who are unable to fill their current epinephrine prescriptions, Walgreens pharmacists will work with each patient's healthcare practitioner to see if AUVI-Q is right for them," the company said in a release.