The price of EpiPens in the U.S. has surged beyond all reason. Epinephrine auto-injectors are used by those who have severe allergic reactions. The injectors save people's lives. But in recent years, EpiPens have become simply too expensive for many to afford.
Since there is no generic alternative, Mylan Pharmaceuticals has effectively cornered the market, charging whatever it wants for its product.
Over the past decade alone, Mylan has upped the price several times per year. Currently a pack of two injectors costs around $600USD. Back in 2007, the same pack cost just under $100USD. The product hasn't changed, so why the 400 per cent price hike?
It's probably no coincidence that the cost has shot up in line with the incidence of allergies. An estimated 3.6 million Americans were prescribed the two-pack of EpiPens last year alone.
It's an inflation many claim is unwarranted, and motivated solely by greed.
For those with severe allergies, the injectors can mean the difference between life and death.
After all, kids with anaphylaxis aren't allowed to attend school without an EpiPen. Along with back-to-school supplies, allergic kids need new pens every year or so, since the pens expire and are also contingent on a child's weight. Not all insurance plans cover the exorbitant cost.
It's enough to keep parents up at night.
North of the border, the cost of the pens is more reasonable, with drug prices regulated by a governing body.
Yet though the cost remains unchanged for now - hovering around the $100 mark for the past four years - that may not always be the case, as Pfizer distributes the pens under license from Mylan.
In the wake of all the bad press, Mylan has offered discount cards. However, it has not adjusted the price of the pens.
"It's wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them," Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in a statement this week.
Price gouging at its worst. It's morally reprehensible to put a price tag on anyone's health.
My heart breaks for the parents out there wondering how they will afford to keep their kids safe this year. No mom or dad should ever be put in that position.
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