Everything You Need to Know About the EpiPen Price Hike

 

EpiPen is “a disposable, pre-filled automatic injection device that administers epinephrine in the event of a severe allergic reaction.” Or, in English, a lifesaving dose of adrenaline for people who are effected by anaphylaxis… but most people just know it as the thing your cousin who’s allergic to peanuts carries around. (We’re not exaggerating – a recent study shows that 1 in 50 Americans need one). Unfortunately, 1 in 50 people do not own any for one simple reason:

Epipen prices have gone up over 500% since Mylan first purchased it less than ten years ago.

After acquisition, industry giant Mylan worked tirelessly through a full-fledged media blitz and market saturation to turn the EpiPen brand from a company worth $200 million into a billion dollar conglomerate. And it worked. From quirky commercials that made the brand iconic in the advertising world to pushing legislation that makes the product mandatorily stocked in schools and restaurants, EpiPen has touched seemingly every area of the industry.

So why the price hike? Raising awareness of anaphylaxis and the need for this stuff only makes the company money if consumers can afford to buy them, right?

Sort of.

The other key ingredient to the price surge is a near monopoly on the industry. EpiPen has competitors, but I bet you can’t name one. I’ll give you a second…

Do the names Auvi-Q and Adrenaclick ring any bells? No? Of course not. Because EpiPen is virtually the only (Doctor Recommended!) option on the market, as the generic version failed to be approved by the FDA.

Here’s a breakdown of the price raise for people who like pictures:

You’re seeing that right. Without insurance, a 2-pack of EpiPen injectors costs patients about $600. In 2007, when Mylan purchased EpiPen, it cost just $57.

And guys, everyone is mad.

When the news first came to light last week, angry patients took to social media to slam the outrageous prices, going to far as to creating a browser game to poke fun at the executives.

 

In response to the backlash, Mylan did not lower EpiPen prices like some thought they ought to, but offered to cover $300 of patients’ out-of-pocket costs, up from the $100 they offered to reimburse previously.