Rising cost of important medicine is a crime
November 4, 2016
Filed under Opinion
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
A few years ago, I took amoxicillin for a sinus infection and began to break out into hives. I had taken the antibiotic before and been totally fine. But for some reason I was suddenly allergic to it.
For people like me, people who don’t know exactly what they’re allergic to and are developing new allergies all the time, there’s the chance we won’t know what we’re allergic to until it’s too late and having a reaction.
I was lucky and the reaction wasn’t bad enough to need an EpiPen to counter anaphylaxis. Others aren’t as lucky. But, amazingly, that life saving device is becoming much more expensive.
Over the last nine years, the price of EpiPens has gone from $100 in 2007 and risen to anywhere between $300-$600 today. The change of the price could affect people and schools in the United States and beyond.
People are upset about this because the company Mylan is only raising the price because of the release of a generic version of their EpiPen, which currently is about a third the price of the name brand.
It is required by Michigan law to have EpiPens available at schools and ready for use in case a student has an allergic reaction. The average expiration date is typically 12 months after purchase meaning every school in Michigan must dedicate at the bare minimum $300-$600 per year. This means less funding for other school needs. This huge expense is also felt by people who need to have an EpiPen near them at all times. For example, no one goes to the park and plans to get stung by a bee. Sure peanuts are avoidable, but those who are allergic don’t always know what someone is cooking with or how well utensils have been cleaned. Now, for those people, EpiPens are more difficult to afford and they have to be even more cautious than they already are if they can’t get the medicine.
On the other hand, I understand the company that produces the patented EpiPen auto injector is just trying to make more money before the development and use of generic devices becomes mainstream. But seeing as how Mylan only has one competitor producing this product, and for only $142, there is no reason for the company to raise the price so high.
I suspect once everyone begins to switch and starts using the generic version, the prices of the original EpiPen will drop and once again become more available for everyone. When that happens, not only will I be able to relax, but so will everyone else with a potentially life threatening allergy.