October 26, 2016

Why EpiPen Prices Are On The Rise

6871650865_003c319230_zAn EpiPen is a vital piece of equipment for people who can suffer from severe allergic reactions. Food allergens, medication and insect stings or bites are all examples of factors that could trigger anaphylaxis. This is a life threatening allergic reaction that occurs within minutes of being exposed to an allergen. Common symptoms of this condition include severe itching, hives, and swelling of the tongue, mouth and eyes. Furthermore, the condition also effects the person’s ability to breathe. When exposed to the allergen, the airway is affected. The throat and chest tightened, which makes it very difficult to breathe.

An EpiPen contains a small dose of the hormone adrenaline. This hormone is essential for giving the body the strength and motivation it needs to fight the severe reactions of Anaphylactic shock. The EpiPen functions to do so by increasing your blood pressure and reducing the smooth muscles in the lungs to ease your body into breathing at a healthy rate again.

However, this vitally important form of medication has become very expensive over the past decade. The price has been controlled by Mylan, a for-profit pharmaceutical company that owns the official rights to market and sell the EpiPen since 2007. Since then, it has been observed that “the company has driven up the price from about $60 to more than $600 in a series of 17 price increases” [1].

The medicine that actually puts a stop to the allergic reaction is very cheap; the EpiPen’s unique, consistent delivery system is what makes Mylan’s product so special. But consumers detest the fact that Mylan profits so richly from this product when the main demographics are schools and families with small children – people who struggle to afford the drug.

Due to the vast amount of public attention in the last month, Mylan has been repeatedly accused of unreasonably increasing the prices of a lifesaving medication.

[1] Mylan agrees to give EpiPen Documents to Congress. Jackie Wattles. CNN Money. Retrieved From: http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/12/news/companies/epipen-mylan-house-committee/

Image taken by Greg Friese. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/gfriese/6871650865/in/photolist-bte1cM-bte1p4-bte2u6-o8gRVJ-7AqPWo-6QFmx1-bte1Gx-bte1ya-bte11z-bte1Te-btdZG2-btdZRg-bte1Zv-bte2ar-bte2kc-bte2Tx-bte2Ex-bF1Rjy-66E1BU-3zenu6-6KbHA2-6KfTaw-52LsYe-52QGA1-9xGkFj-tv7u4-Mdn5ps-Mdn4LU-Mdn4aJ-MueVgs-48Q8m