This week, the pharmaceutical company Mylan increased the prices of their EpiPen 2-Pak containing two syringes to over $600 USD, where it had been $94 USD less than a decade ago. This injection tool is used in case of emergency for anyone with a severe allergy in the case of anaphylactic shock. The EpiPen is recommended for anyone with serious allergies where anaphylaxis can result within minutes of contact with the allergen. The EpiPen is used to deliver a measured dose of epinephrine for emergency treatment of symptoms including swelling of the mouth, chest pain and difficulty breathing. If anaphylaxis is not responded to quickly, it could be fatal. Individuals and families obviously rely on having this potentially life-saving medicinal device on hand, but are having a hard time swallowing the steep price it has climbed to.
Reactions to the were immediate and heated. From customers of the EpiPen to Congress members, people are making their disapproval clear. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have spoken out against Mylan’s lack of justification and reasoning for increasing costs, which appears to mainly benefit the wealth of the company and its shareholders.
In response to the heavy criticism this week, Mylan has announced on August 25 2016 that a discount would be available in two cases:
Patients paying for the EpiPen 2-pak by cash are eligible for $300 (instead of $100) from the patient assistance program.
Individuals and families who belong to a commercial health insurer will also be able to receive up to $300 from the patient assistance program.
Customers who are eligible may get 50% off the current EpiPen price. However, this offer only stands until the end of the year, and the retail price of the EpiPen has not been changed, and remains at over $600 USD to date. While it may seem like a good deal, customers of the EpiPen should be aware that even if you happen to be eligible, this affects the cost for your insurance companies, who are likely to raise premiums and make changes on their end which will end up coming back to you.
Another important question that in points to is that pharmaceutical companies like Mylan don’t benefit alone. Consider that the company that produces and sells EpiPens are partners with the Allergy & Asthma Network, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Food Allergy Research & Education. As Parker-Pope pointed out, none of these groups have spoken out about the price of the EpiPen affecting the safety of people with life-threatening allergies. It has been the individuals, parents and families of the people who need it that have been campaigning against this issue before high profile presidential candidates, senators and news groups made it a more high profile media story.
We encourage people to not only speak out on your social media in your communities about Mylan and EpiPens, but also to write to your government leaders and healthcare leaders about the larger systemic issues at hand.
The larger issue this brings up is the ability for Americans to manage their health conditions at an affordable rate. While the range in medication prices that can arise from private healthcare and different insurance rates has been a longtime controversial conversation in the US healthcare system, Mylan’s pricing of the EpiPens is an extreme example. It makes the inaccessibility of proper health management much more pronounced.
In the end, besides the issues with healthcare and private company price regulation, it is the people with serious allergies that should remain central to the conversation. Children and adults who are at risk every day for reacting to common allergens should not have to pay a high price for medication and the tools to manage their health. Canadian Pharmacy Meds has always been glad to be a position to offer American and international customers the option to get their prescription medication in a safe, reliable way and for the best prices available. In this specific case, where we offer the exact same EpiPen 2-pak for $205 USD instead of $608 USD, the best price is a clear one. Again, this is available in part because each country regulates their own medication prices, and Mylan’s price hike does not apply to Canada. As any online pharmacy should, we take our customers’ health seriously and still require a valid doctor’s prescription for your prescription drug orders. Learn more here, and do contact us if you have further questions.