If your child has severe allergies, they probably carry an EpiPen, an auto-injector that releases the hormone epinephrine to relax the muscles and prevent a life-threatening allergic reaction. And Mylan, the company that manufactures EpiPens, is under fire for the dramatic price raise for the medication. In 2009, a twin pack of pens cost around one hundred dollars. Today, it could cost you upwards of a thousand.
While almost all prescription drug prices have risen in recent years according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, America has some of the highest prices in the world, so much so that the price hike for EpiPens is grabbing national attention. The danger lies in the limited options available for those with allergies. One alternative left the market last year after a recall. Another uses a different technology. Other options, such as calling an ambulance, may be difficult or inefficient for those experiencing anaphylactic shock.
This issue is pressing for families. Many children require at least two EpiPens, one to keep at school and one for the home. The medicine also expires after a year, which make it a yearly expense. Some users carry around expired medicine, which may not be as effective in an emergency. Insurance will often cover one, though there is usually a high co-pay; a second one is out of pocket.
In a statement surrounding the issue Mylan says, “Ensuring access to epinephrine—the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis—is a core part of our mission.” They recommend users get a My EpiPen Savings Card for discounts off the product or look into their EpiPen4Schools campaign which provides schools with free EpiPens.
In wake of the controversy over the increased price of EpiPens, CNBC reports top executives at Mylan received significant pay raises. The price of EpiPens has gone up 400 percent, and the salary for executives has gone up 600 percent. Mylan President Rajiv Malik’s base pay is up 11.1 percent, to a total salary of one million dollars. Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Mauro has gotten a 13.6 percent pay raise. Perhaps most shocking is the pay increase for CEO Heather Bresch. In 2007 Heather was making over two million dollars; in 2015, she made over eighteen million. That’s a 671 percent increase.
CNBC reports that the price of EpiPens increased five percent in 2008 and 2009, nineteen percent at the end of 2009 and ten percent from 2010-2013. Since 2013 prices have gone up fifteen percent every other quarter.
There are petitions you can sign to help convince the company and Congress to alter the pricing structure.
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