Consumers Feel the Crunch of EpiPen’s Price Hike

When industries artificially inflate their prices, it’s called price gouging. There are few other terms that so adequately describe how health consumers feel about Mylan’s recent decision to raise the cost of the EpiPen by $100.00 – now more than $600.00 for the two-pack.

The news of the recent price hike by drug manufacturer Mylan doesn’t come as a surprise to the 43 million people in the United States who are at risk for experiencing anaphylaxis – a life-threatening severe allergic reaction. Health consumers who have needed and purchased the epinephrine auto-injector made by Mylan have experienced hikes in prices since 2008 when a two-pack of the EpiPens sold for $100.

A built-in profit-maker is the fact that each two-pack of auto-injectable has an expiration date of approximately one year, requiring concerned health consumers needing to make their purchases annually.

In 2011, the price of the EpiPen two-pack was raised to over $160; in 2013, the price was over $260; in 2014, the price increased to nearly $350; 2015’s price was more than $450; and in May 2016, the price of the same EpiPen two-pack was increased to $608.61.

Parents with children who have allergies and individuals with allergies are literally having to choose between purchasing the EpiPens in case a severe allergic reaction occurs or buying groceries or paying household bills.

In the meantime, Mylan, who holds the patent for the auto-injection portion of the EpiPen – that which makes it so useful in an emergency when seconds county – has enjoyed profits of more than $1 billion/year from the EpiPen alone.

Related Reading: Congress Pushes Back Against EpiPen Company Over Rate Increase of 400%

Why Can’t American Health Consumers Just Buy a Competitor’s Product?

Mylan purchased the rights to the EpiPen in 2007 from Merck, invested in an exhaustive marketing campaign not only to consumers but to legislators as well to make its brand a household name. Epinephrine, the drug contained in Mylan’s product has been around for more than one hundred years and is not costly to manufacture; in fact, the medication in each Mylan auto-injector costs about $1 dollar.

However, Mylan’s patent on the auto-injector portion of the delivery system is what makes it unique, and due to recent governmental regulations – makes it the only such device on the market.

Mylan’s only competition in the epinephrine auto-injectable market, Sanofi, saw its product, Auvi-Q, the subject of an FDA recall in 2015 due to reports that its delivery system failed to deliver the proper dosage each and every time – a system failure not unlike that of the EpiPen – but nevertheless resulted in Auvi-Q being pulled from the market.

Mylan’s marketing campaign has been so successful that the EpiPen has become nearly synonymous with “allergy,” creating a must-have pull to concerned consumers.

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