The EpiPen, an easy-to-use injectable shot filled with medicine that can stop a life-threatening allergic reaction, has increased in price from about $100 for a pack of two pens in 2009 to over $600 this year.
Pharmaceutical company Mylan purchased the rights to the pen back in 2007, and it appears that they’ve taken a page from “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli and re-priced their newly acquired product. That is, they’ve spiked prices for no apparent research and development reason related to the product, except perhaps to make up for the tens of millions of dollars they’ve spent on TV commercials to promote it, reports CBS news.
The price spike also coincides with the recall of one of EpiPen’s competitors, the Auvi-Q from the pharmaceutical company Sanofi US. The company recalled their pen in October because of inaccurate dosage issues.
An estimated one in 50 Americans could have anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction to an allergy, according to a study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America that was sponsored by Sanofi.
Now that the Auvi-Q has left the market, people with severe allergies who need to keep a pen stocked on their person or at work or school are stuck with few options — and expensive ones at that, especially for people with high-deductible insurance plans. Making matters worse is the fact that the pens expire after one year.
Pharmaceutical watchdogs and politicians have weighed in on the price hike, pushing back on Mylan’s pricing scheme and calling for competitors to enter the market.