The Epipen price has sparked an outrage among consumers and lawmakers who worry that parents won’t be able to afford them for children heading back to school. It is used for those who suffer from life threatening reactions to bee stings, peanuts and other allergens.
In 2007, the price for a two-pen set was less than $100. Mylan pharmaceuticals purchased this decade old product that year and has steadily raised the Epipen price. In July 2013 it was $264, in May 2015 it was $461, then this May 2016 the price spiked to $608 according to a drug database site.
It is advised to carry 2 Epipens in case of severe allergic reactions and most need to be replaced yearly depending on the expiration date.
Mylan offers a $100 coupon for patients but because of high-deductible health plans, consumers now are forced to foot the rest of the bill for it. People without insurance also end up paying more than $600 a set. Even with good insurance, patients copayments are as much as four times higher than the past.
Also because Epipens may expire after a year, patients have to buy another two-pack set every year. For more information on the expiration of Epipens, please read the attached blog.
The price hike of Epipens has caught the attention of lawmakers. The FTC and Senate Judiciary Committee have been asked to review whether the price hikes violate any anti-competition rules. Last year, the major competitor, Auvi-Q, recalled their product because it may not have been delivering the correct amount of epinephrine, leaving Epipen as the primary emergency treatment option.
A petition to Congress protesting the Epipen price called “Stop the Epipen Price Gouging” has collected over 50,000 signatures on social media.
Mylan does offer free Epipens to schools who stock them. Here in California, a law was passed mandating schools to have them.
In the meantime, consumers are having difficulty paying for them and are taking the chance and holding on to expired Epipens.
Always speak to your doctor regarding options if you can not fill the prescription for your Epipen.
Update August 25th 2016: Mylan announced they will be giving $300 coupons now instead of the $100 ones. To clarify they have not lowered the price on the Epipens, they are giving a larger coupon now.