I have no way of knowing if an EpiPen has ever saved my live, because the counterfactual is eternally unknowable. But it may well have on multiple occasions. Even if you’re very conscientious, it’s very difficult to avoid triggering nut allergies, and I’ve averaged roughly an EpiPen use a year for a decade. So I can assure you that this is a big deal:
The extensive price hike for a vital, life-saving drug for many with allergies is causing concern among doctors, patients, and politicians—along with a guy responsible for an extensive price hike himself.
Mylan pharmaceutical, the maker of the EpiPen—a portable epinephrine injector that can potentially save someone having a life-threatening allergic reaction—is being accused of raising the price of the product from around $100 in 2008 to $500 today. In all, that’s an increase of over 400 percent.
This is especially worrying because Mylan has a near monopoly in the business, especially after one of its competitors issued a recall last year. Doctors have likened its brand dominance in schools to that of Kleenex. Many schools have emergency epinephrine in stock and there are states pushing for legislation to make that mandatory.
“The drug industry’s greed knows no bounds,” Sanders said. “The only explanation for Mylan raising the price by six times since 2009 is that the company values profits more than the lives of millions of Americans.”
NBC stated that while there isn’t a House committee investigation in the works, there is a lawsuit on the way.
“I’ve been looking at EpiPen for years,” said Ari Kresch, CEO of 1-800-LAW-FIRM. “It’s a very cheap drug but I haven’t been successful in getting any experts to tell me why the price has gone up as much as it has.”
The insurance I have until December at least has pretty good pharma coverage, so will the co-pay for an EpiPen is much higher than for any other prescription I’ve ever had to fill it’s not hard to afford on a middle-class salary. But for people with worse insurance and/or more strained circumstances this could be a serious hardship, and I can see people taking the risk of going without one. It’s a serious problem.