EpiPen Costs Skyrocket, Putting Lives at Risk
For people with severe allergies, EpiPens are necessary medical devices. They deliver life-saving medication—epinephrine—in case of a serious allergic reaction. Most health care providers recommend that people with allergies, to peanuts, bee stings, or other allergens, have access to two EpiPens at all times. For children heading back to school, that can mean multiple devices—two at home, two in the car, two at school, etc.
Now, many people can’t afford to buy the devices—even with medical insurance. When the pharmaceutical company Mylan acquired the rights to the EpiPen in 2007, the price pharmacies paid for two was less than $100. By May of 2016, the company had raised the cost to more than $600, on average. The out-of-pocket expense for consumers varies, depending on their local pharmacy and their health insurance, but co-payments and deductibles have risen substantially.
In 2015, a similar product was recalled by the manufacturer because of a potential defect, and currently the EpiPen is the only device of its kind available to consumers in the U.S. The sharp increase in the cost of EpiPens has the attention of lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and a review by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Federal Trade Commission has been proposed.
Image Credit: Thinkstock