The price of EpiPens has gone up more than 400 percent in recent years. Though the epinephren in the EpiPen only costs a couple of dollars, an EpiPen can now cost $600, according to a report from CBC News.
Mylan, the maker of EpiPens, told CBS that the EpiPen's cost "has changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides."
An EpiPen is about the size of a magic marker. It injects epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, into the thigh of someone who is subject to severe allergic reaction to prevent anaphylactic shock and possible death.
The epinephrine makes blood vessels constrict and causes airways to open. This can make all the difference for the person experiencing an extreme allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis.
There are 3.6 million Americans who are prone to severe allergic reactions, according to Quartz. They make about 20,000 ER visits in the United States every year. For these people having access to an EpiPen can be essential for life and health.
Iowa Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley, as well as Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal have individually contacted Mylan with their concerns about the price increase.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the Judiciary committee's antitrust subcommittee, has written to the Federal Trade Commission and has also called for a hearing to investigate the situation.
Mylan has issued a statement saying that "wholesale price has changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides," according to NBC News.
Mylan has something of a monopoly, since it is the only legal manufacturer of EpiPens. Other similar devices just are not as effective.
Auvi-Q is no longer available due to a lack of efficacy in delivering epinephrine. Adrenaclick is less expensive than an EpiPen at $142 for two pens at some locations, but it's not as simple to use.
Barbara Young, a pharmacist from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, advises that any patients using Adrenaclick should go through training first.
Senators Demand Mylan Justify EpiPen Price Hikes. NBCNews.com. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
The Price Of This Lifesaving Allergy Medication Has Skyrocketed. Refinery29.com. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
Mylan’s monopoly on EpiPens is costing low-income allergy patients thousands of dollars. Qz.com. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
Mylan Execs Gave Themselves Raises As They Hiked EpiPen Prices. NBCNews.com. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
How Marketing Turned the EpiPen Into a Billion-Dollar Business. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved August 24, 2016.