You’d think a necessary medication shouldn’t be inaccessible to those who need it, especially when it involves saving a child’s life. Now that it’s back-to-school season, parents are gearing up for the new academic year. They’re buying Trapper Keepers, cute backpacks, and all those fancy Post-It notes. And you know, EpiPens.
It’s not a secret many kids have allergies, which means parents need to stock up on EpiPens, which are a portable device that can stop a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
Mylan, the company who supplies them, jacked the price up from around $100 in 2008 to $500. The company also monopolizes the market, and because prescriptions are only valid for a year, there’s no easy way around it.
Dr. Douglas McMahon, an allergy specialist in Maplewood, Minnesota, has stated in NBC:
“Patients are calling and saying they can’t afford it. They’re between a rock and a hard place.
When epinephrine only costs a few cents, but they’re going up to $500, personally I don’t think that’s ethically responsible.”
In a recent statement, Mylan said that the prices have “changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides,” and that “we’ve made a significant investment to support the device over the past years.” Apparently, however, the company offers coupons on its website that can reduce costs–which seems a little contradictory.
For the past few years, McMahon has been developing a smaller version of the EpiPen, and is currently trying to get it approved by the FDA and bring it to market. McMahon says his device will retail for about $50.