It’s no secret that the pharmaceutical industry deals in some shady practices when it comes to medication prices. Most of the time, the common good and basic necessity win out over profit in the industry, but then moments come along that cause outrage beyond the imagination. We got a taste following the controversy surrounding Martin Shkreli and his former company, but now there’s a far more established example.
Mylan Pharmaceutical just hiked up the prices of EpiPens, taking them from $56 dollars wholesale to a little over $365. That’s a 544.77 percent change according to NBC News and it is not sitting well with many people who rely on the medicine:
“You are forcing many families to gamble with their children’s lives, when your costs haven’t gone up,” wrote one Facebook post. Others questioned why the prices in the U.S. were higher than other countries for the same medicine.
“Amazing that Epipen prices in CA & EU with prescription are about $85. No govt negotiated buy in US,” said another tweet.
NBC reports that one in fifty people have experienced life-threatening allergic reactions, citing a report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology from 2014 that also noted that most patients are not prepared for these reactions. That’s where the EpiPen would come into play, acting as a go to emergency device in those situations that most aren’t expecting. Worse yet, the function of the EpiPen hasn’t changed according to many investigating the issue, but the price continues to increase and Mylan uses these ‘changes’ to justify the increases:
In an earlier emailed statement, Mylan said its prices have “changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides,” and that “we’ve made a significant investment to support the device over the past years.”
The statement noted that commercially insured patients have successfully used its $100 coupon program, with nearly 80 percent of the My EpiPen Savings Card™ getting their auto-injectors for $0.
However, those without better insurance plans, or the uninsured, aren’t able to take advantage of the program.
Many have flooded Mylan’s Facebook page to voice their displeasure over the price increase, putting a very personal face on the issue. Several high-profile individuals have also voiced their opinion on Mylan’s decision to raise the price, including Senator Bernie Sanders:
And the response from others on Twitter echoes this outrage:
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, the cosponsor of a bill requiring schools to maintain and use emergency supplies of epinephrine, told NBC that he will be investigating the price hike: