Dr Oz: Expensive Emergency Device For Allergic Reactions
How in the world could a life-saving medication that so many people depend on in emergency situations, suddenly go from $100 to more than $600? That’s exactly what Dr Oz wanted to find out. Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan Inc, claimed she wishes they had better anticipated the issues for “a growing minority of patients” who ended up having to pay the full wholesale price or more for their EpiPens. “We never intended this,” she stated, in response to the national backlash over the price hike.
EpiPens are an emergency treatment for severe allergic reactions. When someone goes into anaphylactic shock, an EpiPen could mean the difference between life and death, and it’s a necessary lifeline for more than 3 million Americans. Ever since Mylan acquired the device in 2007, the price has risen more than 6 fold, and now costs $608 for a package of two. Because of the price, it’s become harder for families and schools to keep a fresh supply on hand.
Dr Oz: EpiPen Price Hike & Backlash
EpiPens use Epinephrine, a generic drug, and a cheap injector, which made it all the more confusing as to why the company was charging so much for the device. At a recent congressional hearing, Heather stated that Mylan receives $274 out of each $608, not the full amount as many assumed. Because Heather is still under fire, Mylan is planning to offer a half-priced generic version. But what can be done to ensure that everyone who needs it, has access to the life-saving devices they need.
Dr Oz: Parents Enraged Over EpiPen Price Increase
Perhaps the most infuriated people of all are the mothers of young children who depend on their EpiPens in cases of emergencies. Lisa is a mother of two children with severe food allergies, and needs an EpiPen for herself as well. Lisa explained that the price had been rising for quite some time, but once it went above $600, it felt as if someone had punched her in the gut. Another mom explained that $608 is the wholesale acquisition cost, which is what the pharmacy pays. She has to pay retail and because she has a high deductible health plan and has two boys with allergies, she needs a minimum of one at school and one at home, so she’s spending thousands of dollars each year on EpiPens alone.
Dr Oz: Preparing For Anaphylactic Reactions
Dr Oz explained that Heather Bresch actually declined an offer to come on the show and talk directly with people, but Dr Jennifer Ashton did come on the show to discuss the issue. Dr Ashton has life-threatening food allergies and has even experienced an anaphylactic reaction. Her own grandmother died of an anaphylactic reaction, so she knows just how life-threatening the topic is.
Dr Oz: What’s Causing Medication Price Increases?
Dr Ashton explained that Epinephrine itself is a “dirt cheap” drug, but it’s the device itself that costs so much to study and develop. Even still, it likely costs about $30 per pen to produce. The confusion comes from what happens to the other $570. A recent study out of Harvard found that the driving factor behind the skyrocketing prices of medications, is FDA regulations in place to make it more difficult for competition to come to market. Essentially, there isn’t enough competition to keep companies from raising the price of medications, knowing people don’t have any choice but to pay it.
Mylan stated “The genetic to EpiPen Auto-Injector will be offered at a list price of $300 per two-pack carton, which represents a discount of more than 50% to the list price of the branded medicine.”
Dr Oz: Generic, Cheaper Version Of EpiPen
Lisa Gill from Consumer Reports explained that they went on a hunt to find alternatives for families. It’s called generic Adrenaclick and it contains the exact same dosage of Epinephrine as the EpiPen and it can be a fraction of the cost. It can cost just $140 but your doctor has to actually write the prescription for generic Adrenaclick or epinephrine self auto-injector.
In most cases you have to specifically ask your doctor to write the right prescription. Many common chain store pharmacies have stated that if they don’t have Adrenaclick on hand, they can get it within 24 hours. Dr Ashton added that there’s actually a chance that your own doctor doesn’t even know about the generic version, which is why it’s so important to spread the word.
If you aren’t going to use your insurance or if your insurance doesn’t cover EpiPens very well, go to GoodRx.com and put in your location. Then search for Epinephrine and get a discount with one simple click. If your supply is expired, you really do have to get new ones, which is why this is so important to know. It’s also important to know that can’t legally purchase a prescription from Ebay or Craigslist.