According to The New York Times, a steep increase in the price of the EpiPen has sparked outrage among consumers and lawmakers.
Mylan, the pharmaceutical company, acquired the decades-old product in 2007, when pharmacies paid less than $100 for a two-pen set, and has since been steadily raising the wholesale price. In 2009, a pharmacy paid $103.50 for a set. By July 2013 the price was up to $264.50, and it rose 75 percent to $461 by last May. This May the price spiked again to $608.61, according to data provided by Elsevier Clinical Solutions’ Gold Standard Drug Database.
Doctors advise allergic patients to carry two EpiPens with them at all times in case an extra dose is needed to quell a severe reaction. Most parents buy multiple EpiPens for home, in the car and school and may replace them annually, depending on the expiration date.
Mylan has declined to comment on the price hike, issuing a statement pointing the finger at high-deductible health plans that require consumers to pay much more out of pocket for many drugs. The company said a $100 coupon they offer for the product means most people don’t pay anything for the pens.
But how the price hike affects consumers varies widely, depending on the prices charged by their local pharmacy and the details of their insurance plan. People without insurance or with high-deductible insurance plans can’t always use the coupon and are paying about $640 a set, said Michael Rea, the chief executive of Rx Savings Solutions in Overland Park, Kan. Other patients say that even with good insurance, their copayments are as much as four times higher than in the past.