EpiPen’s are highway robbery – This has to change.
I was watching TV coverage of Hurricane Irma over the weekend when I saw an advertisement refuting the current price of EpiPens. The advertisement was blasting Mylan for the exorbitant cost of this life saving drug. The ad mentioned how each EpiPen contain $1 of the drug epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. According to Wikipedia, Epinephrine is normally produced by both the adrenal glands and certain neurons.
The EpiPen was originally developed by Sheldon Kaplan (not Sheldon Lee Cooper) in the mid 1970’s for the US military. This was later approved by the FDA in 1987.
Over the next 20 years, the right to market EpiPen bounced between several pharmaceutical companies. In 2007, Mylan acquired the rights from Merck. At this time, the EpiPen commanded ~90% market share. After acquiring the EpiPen rights, Mylan decided to make minor tweaks to the delivery of the medication. They also improved the safety and overall functionality of the delivery system. Even though these changes added to the overall cost of manufacturing, the level of increase cannot be justified. From 2009 to present day 2017, the consumer price of the EpiPen went from $100 to around $600. That is a 500% increase.
According to the video below, over 2% of Americans have food allergies. Due to all to the chemicals that are used in food production, this figure is predicted to rise.
The Wicked Witch
I found this video of the CEO of Mylan, Heather Bresch, trying to justify this increase as she racks in millions of dollars. I hope this women has a hard time sleeping at night.
We have close friends that have a son with a severe peanut allergy. They are forced to purchase several EpiPens each year. If a child has a sever allergy, many schools require parents to keep 1-2 EpiPens stocked for the nurse. What make this even more difficult and expensive is EpiPen’s have a relatively short shelf life, ~1 year. There are studies that I found that say they are still good past this date. However, if your parent, is it worth taking this risk.
There is some good news. Due to the enormous public outrage, there are now some alternative to the Mylan produced EpiPen. CVS is a major contributor to pushing this alternative. Click the image for the link. Additionally, this outcry has led to more people lobbying politicians for stricter regulations on greedy pharmaceutical companies.
What are your thoughts on these greedy companies?