An EpiPen is a syringe-like device that administers medicine to those having a severe allergic reaction. It is administered into the individual’s thigh, and allows the patient to resume normal, or near-normal, breathing until they can go see a specialist. Carried by 43 million U.S. citizens on a daily basis, EpiPens are usually used on children. However, young and older adults carry them around with them as well, ready for use in the event of an incident. They are vital to anyone with severe allergies. As they continue to increase in price, however, parents and individuals are finding it harder to afford this live-saving medicine.
Mylan has been making headlines recently, but not for a good reason. Mylan, the company that bought EpiPen in 2007, has been under fire ever since the price of a two-pack of EpiPens rose over $500 since 2009. Additional controversy surrounds the salary of CEO Heather Bresch that has increased by a staggering 671 percent since 2007.
It is important to note that the price of the EpiPen did not increase overnight. People, nevertheless, are angry because insurance companies have been covering the small hikes in costs over the years. Consumers hardly noticed the increases since they were paying the same deductible. However, with so many employers opting for higher-deductible plans for their workers, many employees wind up shelling out more money. Parents end up paying for EpiPens anyway because they could never put a price on the life of their child.
In a press release, Mylan defends this insane price-hike saying that the increases “better reflect important product features and the value the product provides.” The value the product provides is the preservation of an individual’s life. Mylan seems to be okay with putting a price on a human life. To Mylan’s credit, it does offer $100-off coupons, but when the average deductible for just four EpiPens is almost $1,500, the coupon hardly puts a dent in the total cost.
While Mylan has offered a defense as to why the price of an EpiPen is increasing, they have not commented on why the CEO and executive salaries are increasing so rapidly. It seems that those in charge are lining their pockets and living comfortably while the product they produce is draining its consumers’ own pockets.
Mylan should take responsibility and own up to this correlation. It should also explain to its customers why they are paying more for the same drug and why executives are enjoying huge pay raises. The longer the company stays quiet on this issue, the more corruption we can assume is happening within Mylan.
Because so many people rely on an EpiPen to save their own life or the life of their child in emergency situations, people will not stop buying them. Some parents are turning to pharmacies that have the drug imported from places like Canada, where it is much cheaper. Others are trying to recreate their own syringes, a task that comes with its own set of dangers. Mylan maintains the monopoly on these life-saving devices and has a powerful reach over the market. Mylan is taking advantage of their grasp and something needs to be done.