Epi-demic

Epi-demic

Isaac Schnierle, Writer

The EpiPen, is a device used to treat severe allergic reactions, to bug stings, bites, food or drug allergens and is a lifesaver for many people across the country. Mylan, the producer of the EpiPen, has raised the price from just $94 dollars in 2007 to almost $615 today which is about a 500% increase in price. Mylan does not release details about how much it costs to make an EpiPen, which relies on a decades-old technology. But outside experts have said it costs no more than $30 per device, and possibly much less. The dosage of epinephrine costs less than $1 per device. The EpiPen also expires after a year so if it goes unused, consumers have to buy it again annually. This increase has limited the much needed access to lifesaving medication. “As the prices have increased, the demand has increased as well, which is exactly the opposite of what you’d expect to see given the laws of price and demand,” said Josh Gray, vice president of research at Athenahealth.There is no generic equivalent to the epipen as well as no competitors which give Mylan the easy option of price gouging. David Namerow, a New Jersey Pediatrician, said “They seem to be taking advantage of the most vulnerable kids with food allergies and the parents have no alternative. About 6% of kids have food allergies, and 15 million people have food allergies. Every 9 out of 10 schools nationally had one or more child with a food allergy. But, there seems to be a cheaper way! A PHD mathematician named Michael Laufer, who is a creator of the EpiPencil. He told CNNMoney “we’re giving people the requisite information to empower themselves to manage their own health.” This device costs less than $35 and is easily made from just a few parts people can get themselves including an auto injector and syringes. It took the group called the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective just 2 weeks of researching and prototyping to provide a cheaper do it yourself method. Everything can be purchased over the counter besides the epinephrine which you need a doctor’s prescription to get, but is easy to get if you have allergies. Dr. Douglas McMahon is also working on his EpiPen alternative called AllergyStop that is a lot smaller than the DIY EpiPencil and can fit on a keychain and costs about 50$ for a dose and lasts longer than the EpiPen, about 15 months. McMahon said “the competition is a good thing because it competition drives prices down and if there’s more competition, the medicine won’t be as expensive”

 

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/07/epipen-prescriptions-jumped-last-month-even-as-outrage-grew-over-price-hikes.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2016/08/22/two-senators-urge-scrutiny-epipen-price-boost/89129620/