Epipen’s Cost to Us All

I admit.  I have a vested interest in the issue–a granddaughter with a peanut allergy.  I want her to keep carrying a non-expired Epinephrine-dispensing device that can save her life.  Most people know the device as an Epipen (although there is a cheaper alternative a doctor might prescribe, Adrenaclick).

I don’t get it.  Pharmaceutical companies always issue a new product at a high price because “we need to make up for all the money that went into its research and development.”  Then, shouldn’t the price go down rather than up — or  at least stay the same — after almost ten years of their recouping their investment?

Look at the Epipen, at what PHARMACIES have paid over the years for each set of two pens: $100 (2007), $103.50 (2009), $264.50 (July 2013), $461–up 75%! (May 2015), $608.61 (May 2016).  And the price from the pharmacies to consumers, of course, is much higher.

Now Mylan, who makes the Epipen, promises to offer a generic Epipen for around $300 for a two-pack, but that’s the cost to the pharmacies, not to us.  It’s still a lot of money for something that started out at a price of $100, which Mylan figured would cover their R and D costs.

Also, people with such allergies should, to be safe, have two pens with them at all times (in case a second dose is needed), plus two at home and two in in any other home they spend much time in (such as a divorced parent).

Oh, and those pens expire in 12 months.  Expired ones should not be used because the Epiniphrine degrades, making it less effective or totally ineffective.

Yes, insurance covers the pens. There are two hidden costs there, though: the patient’s co-pay and the rise in insurance rates due to such unreasonable medication costs.  A third, devastating cost is in lives lost because a family can’t afford the co-pay or an insurance plan that covers such medications.

I want my granddaughter, and everyone else’s family members, to be taken care of, not to be taken advantage of!



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