What You Need to Know About the Epipen Crisis

Epinephrine Auto-Injectors are prescribed to millions of people who suffer from severe life-threatening allergies. These devices help save lives all over the world. Mylan, the company that created EpiPens has increased the price of the pens by four hundred percent. With no advancements to the product, the prices have elevated from one hundred dollars to six-hundred dollars. Most insurances will not cover the price of the EpiPens because of this price increase. Due to testing and regulations, Mylan is one of the only companies that can manufacture the Epinephrine Auto-Injectors furthermore because most insurance providers will not cover the cost, the EpiPens prices must decrease.

In the 1970s a man named Sheldon Kaplan invented a device called the ComboPen, an auto-injector that contained a “nerve gas antidote” that was used in the U.S. military (Rimler). He used this device and created a similar one that was used to help people everywhere who struggled with anaphylaxis which in Greek means “without protection”. Since the 1970s there have been many advancements to the Epipen from a change in shape and how it is administered to how powerful the pen actually is.  It has been over a decade though since the Epinephrine Auto-Injector has been updated but recently over the summer of 2016, the Mylan CEO Heather Bresch decided that she would raise the price of Epipens over 400%. In a recent survey done with the University of New Hampshire, students answered 100% yes to the following question “Do you feel the increase in Price of EpiPens is uncalled for” and 90% of the people who took the survey answered yes to knowing someone who has a life-threatening allergy and needs an EpiPen.

In a recent interview, I sat down with Cheryl Sousa, mother of two daughters who have life-threatening allergies. Cheryl was asked “ Do you believe that there is a reason or justification for making EpiPens so expensive” she answered the following “No. There has been no new added value or manufacturing benefits to the product. The only change to the EpiPen has been the price” (Sousa).

With the price increase, companies left and right are trying to find ways around this. CVS is the most known brand for creating a new generic brand of EpiPen at less than half the cost. It is becoming a race against the clock for companies to create a new type of EpiPen alternative to Mylan's and also continue creating different generic brands. This will allow for more options and also allow an ethical solution for people who are not able to afford the EpiPens for them.  This situation needs to be fixed and it can be done so by pharmaceutical companies starting to take a stronger reign of the pharmaceutical companies and holding them accountable. This would benefit everyone around the world let alone our country because you can not choose to have a life-threatening allergy. It is something you are born with and have to live with every day and no one should have to pay hundreds of dollars for something that allows us to live our lives comfortably.                                                                    

Mylan is allowing its CEO to make a product unattainable to everyone. With people unable to afford this life-saving device they are putting a price on life. Epinephrine Auto-Injectors are prescribed to millions of people who suffer from severe life-threatening allergies. These devices help save lives all over the world. Who is one to say someone’s life is more important than another?