EpiPens Price Rose by 500% in 9 Years, Affects Californians

On September 27, 2016 By Tevis

Price of the standard package of EpiPens has gone from $100 in the year 2007 to over $600 today, exhibiting a 500 percent increase within just nine years.

This is very alarming because EpiPens can be life saving in grave situations when a person experiences severe a allergy, causing anaphylactic shock and difficulty of breathing, which is fatal if not acted upon immediately.

Californians are heavily affected by the abrupt increase in cost of EpiPens, and are bothered by price increase.

The Need for EpiPens

Patients with severe reactions to allergens of all sorts (from food or medicine, to pollen and dust, and even insect bites), need strong remedies to help alleviate their condition. These include Albuterol, Epinephrine, and Benadryl.

Some serious allergic reactions include getting covered in hives; swelling of the eyes, tongue, throat, and mouth; and wheezing. If not acted upon immediately, the patient will experience difficulty of breathing, and worse, anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic reaction that is often fatal if not treated immediately. To counter anaphylaxis, the primary treatment is an injection of epinephrine.

This is the reason why EpiPen, the only commercially available form of epinephrine there is, is important for people who are prone to severe allergic reactions. It can serve as a lifeline for them.

The Monumental Price Hike of EpiPens

In 2007, the standard two-dose package of EpiPen cost around $100. In 2011, it rose to around $165; $220 in 2012; $270 in 2013, $350 in 2014, $460 in 2015, and $610 this year.

Families who need EpiPens for worst case scenarios have to deal with the increase in price, as EpiPens are neessary for those who suffer from severe allergic reactions.

The situation merited investigations for the possibility of price gouging.

Mylan, the manufacturer of Epipens, has been under fire for their seemingly lack of concern for its customers. Reports from analysts suggests that the increase in price of EpiPens is caused by the incentives given to the company’s executives. The top three Executives of Mylan, Chairman Robert J. Coury, Chief Executive Heather Bresch and President Rajiv Malik, are said to have received $70 million each, putting them all on the top 20 highest-paid in the drug industry.

However, the defense of Mylan is that the price increase is needed to achieve their growth targets. Also, the shareholders are said to have approved the incentives given to the company’s executives.

EpiPens, not alone in drug price hike

Mylan is not the only pharmaceutical company facing the issue of increasing the price of its products. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, maker of a drug for the treatment of macular degeneration, is also under fire for 15-fold increase in the price of the said drug in just over five years.

Lawmakers will continue to look into this issue in order to protect Californian families from corporations that seem to only care for profits and not the welfare of those who use their products even if their lives depend on them.

For now, people in need of remedy for severe allergic reactions can breathe a little easier because Mylan has been providing assistance to some customers. Also, the company has introduced a generic substitute for the EpiPen, costing around $300 for a two-pen pack.