Mylan Raises Cost of Potentially Life-Saving EpiPen By 500 Percent

August 23, 2016 2:19 pm  |  Comments: 4  | Views: 5618
    
The cost of saving you or your child’s life has gotten a lot more expensive.

Doctors and patients say that pharmaceutical company Mylan has increased the price of its EpiPen – a portable injectable shot filled the medicine that can stop a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction — by over 480 percent since purchasing the pen in 2007.

Higher EpiPen prices are forcing some families to take some serious risks. (Image Credit: The Huffington Post)

Higher EpiPen prices are forcing some families to take some serious risks. (Image Credit: The Huffington Post)

Compared to 2008 when a pack of two pens could be purchased for about $100, the auto-injector now costs users over $600 a year for a single injection. The dramatic price hike is causing financial constraints for countless families who have severe allergies and rely on EpiPens to deliver a dose of the potentially life-saving medicine if they or their child have a bad reaction.

About the size of colored-marker, EpiPen is filled with epinephrine, which can counter the effects of an allergic reaction. Parents of kids with severe allergies commonly carry the injectable pen wherever they go in the unfortunate event they have to deliver the shot into their child’s thigh in order to stop a potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. According to a study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, an estimated one in 50 Americans could have anaphylaxis, with is a life-threatening reaction to an allergy.

Mylan’s price surge coincides with the recall of EpiPen’s main competitor — Auvi-Q — last October due to inaccurate dosage issues.  When Auvi-Q left the market, people with severe allergies were left with few options — and expensive ones, especially for people with high-deductible insurance plans. Even worse is the fact that epinephrine pens expire after one year, which requires an annual refill and the incurring additional co-pay.

Following Auvi-Q’s 2015 recall, Mylan gained a virtual monopoly of the market according to Bloomberg senior medical reporter Robert Langreth. “This brand name, EpiPen, it’s like Kleenex to allergists,” Langreth said. “You know, it’s a name they know and trust. It’s what they prescribe.”

Langreth further said that Mylan has remarketed the decades-old device without any new research or making any significant changes since acquiring it in 2007, although the manufacturer has spent tens of millions of dollars on TV ads and has donated the device to schools across the U.S. to ensure that the EpiPen is a familiar and trusted product.

“It’s a totally established brand name with little competition,” Langreth said. “That gives them freedom to raise the price every year.”

Frustrated by the rising cost of prescription drugs, health advocates hope sunlight and a dose of shame might discourage drugmakers from raising their prices too quickly or introducing new medications at prices that break the bank. (Image Credit: Today)

Frustrated by the rising cost of prescription drugs, health advocates hope sunlight and a dose of shame might discourage drugmakers from raising their prices too quickly or introducing new medications at prices that break the bank. (Image Credit: Today)

However, with the actual cost of the drug inside the EpiPen costing only a couple of dollars, in addition to there being no recent research and development related to the product since Mylan acquired the rights to the pen, the manufacturer is being accused of essentially charging hundreds of unwarranted dollars for a case – and the Mylan name.

In a statement to CBS, Mylan argued that the EpiPen’s price “has changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides,” saying “we’ve made a significant investment to support the device over the past years.” They pharmaceutical company also blamed the increased burden of EpiPen costs on the rise of high-deductible health insurance plans in the U.S.

Mylan does offer an EpiPen Savings Card for eligible patients that reduces the cost by a maximum of $100. But as users point out, a $100 discount still requires them to cover a majority of the remaining cost.

Sources: The Huffington Post, CBS News, Today,

4 Comments

  • Alan G. Moore, MD says:

    As a physician, I am appalled at the greed of this company. But since we are a free market system, I sincerely hope one or two of the BIG PHARMA companies will realize the opportunity to step in to this free market opportunity to come out with a significantly cheaper version of the EpiPen and undercut the greedy bastards!

  • CDE Blake says:

    In Mylan-speak, this is an outrage of Universal proportions!!! How did we, someone, let this happen? With the company’s CEO enjoying an immense salary increase, now $90M, how can Mylan justify this outrageous increase in consumer cost?

  • Illis Izzarelli says:

    i instructed my pharmacist today to check my many medications. Those medications supplied by Mylan, I want replaced by a similar medication made by a different pharmaceutical company. It may be a small thing but at least I know Mylan will never get another penny of my money. I also posted on facebook asking my friends do the same.

  • As a retired nurse, I was more than appalled when I saw the price of the EpiPen! Yes, it is very important but with our troubled economy and low income families, people can’t afford that kind of money for the EpiPen. Whether a person have insurance or not, that’s taking advantage of and misusing our insurance companies and the people as well. We all know the Pharmaceutical companies are out to make money but to do it in this manner is totally ridiculous! I wonder if the patient/ family member could be taught to draw up the Epi from a vial and give the injection in that manner! It’s not very hard to do and really don’t take long to do it! This is a cheaper way out until something could be done with this disgusting cost of the EpiPen.

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