Epi-Pen Pricing Causes a Health “Epi”demic

Giovanni Toribio, Staff Writer

The cost of a two-pack of EpiPen in the United States has risen from $100 to more than $600. Since 2007, the injection’s cost skyrocketed by 400 percent.

The EpiPen is a portable syringe containing the hormone epinephrine that is used to treat severe, life-threatening asthmatic and allergic reactions, such as those to certain foods or bee stings. The injection is essentially life-saving for those who require it to prevent anaphylactic shock, or worse, death.

The recent attention on EpiPen is creating a question of an alternative to Mylan’s EpiPen. Auto-injector companies in foreign countries are searching for a market in the United States, however, the question of a significantly lower price still stands.

To rectify the recent controversy Mylan, the manufacturer of the drug, has proposed a $300 coupon in order to assist those without immediate access to the medicine.

Additionally, the company seems to be taking precautionary measure by also offering generic version of the EpiPen for half the price.

What Mylan has not proposed, however, is a recall of the 500% hike on the injection. “We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of EpiPen to the patient, and have always shared the public’s desire to ensure that this important product be accessible to anyone who needs it,” Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said in a statement.

In September of 2015, Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, received criticism for raising the price of the drug, Daraprim, from $13.50 to $750.00 per tablet used to treat malaria and symptoms of HIV-positive individuals. Why is the United States allowed to hike their prices up in this way without governmental interference?

Prices in the U.S. for brand-name drugs are 50 to 60 percent higher than in France and twice as high as in the United Kingdom or Australia.

In contrast to the United States, the price of European drug prices are set and regulated by government agencies, whereas U.S. pharmaceutical companies have a right to set their own prices per each drug, especially when the drug remains uncontested.

“What the EpiPen scandal says is that without broad, systemic reforms, this will continue to happen over and over again. This is not the case of a bad actor or a bad CEO at one company,” said Alex Lawson, the executive director of Social Security Works.