Price of Lifesaving EpiPen Soars; Mylan Accused of Prioritizing Profits Over People
EpiPen is the brand name for an epinephrine injector sold by pharmaceutical giant, Mylan NV. Epinephrine injectors are pen-sized devices allergy sufferers use to curb the effects of severe allergies that are often times fatal to the user if action isn’t immediately taken. Those suffering from allergies are advised to keep EpiPens handy at all times as a life-saving measure to stop the harsh effects of substances they’ve been exposed to.
Millions of Americans, including many schoolchildren, rely on epinephrine injectors to save their lives, 24 hours a day. That’s why there has been such an uproar this week after Mylan NV raised the price of EpiPens by more than 500 percent. Consumer advocates were quick to speak out against the price increase, arguing that EpiPens are already too expensive for both those who have health insurance with a high deductible and those who don’t have insurance at all. Advocates and those who rely on EpiPens reason that this price hike will make it nearly impossible for a large portion of allergy sufferers to readily be able to obtain these lifesaving devices. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have criticized this move and are calling for an investigation.
But will an investigation by Congress change anything at Mylan NV or any other members of “Big Pharma?” One only needs to think back to earlier this year to get an answer. It was in February that Turing Pharmaceuticals executive, Martin Shkreli, was called before Congress over his company’s price hike of the AIDS drug, Daraprim, from $13.50 per pill to a staggering $750 per pill. Famously, Shkreli smiled and smirked while continually invoking his Fifth Amendment Rights, and later took to social media and called members of Congress “imbeciles.” But in the case of the EpiPen price increase, things may be even more interesting if Mylan NV’s CEO Heather Bresch is called to testify in front of Congress. Why? Because Ms. Bresch happens to be the daughter of West Virginia Senator, Joe Manchin.
If you or a family member’s health relies on a medication or device, it’s truly unsettling when a pharmaceutical company puts profits before people and increases that price in such dramatic fashion. At Farah & Farah, we’ll keep an eye on the latest developments in EpiPen pricing, and will update this blog as more information becomes available and the story continues to unfold.
UPDATE: At the time of this posting, Mylan NV has announced plans to offer instant saving cards worth $300 to individuals who currently have to pay full price for EpiPens because they either don’t have insurance or have high insurance deductibles.