EpiPen price increase set to create even more worry for families

By Shayma Musa

It’s midnight. The air is filled with the echo of animated conversation. In the kitchen, mismatched dinner plates lay drying on paper napkins. It was a normal Friday night.

Except it wasn’t because shortly after, at 1:35 a.m., she would begin wheezing.

It was July 26, 2013. My 3-year-old cousin was having her first allergic reaction.

She’d eaten a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that someone had given her unknowingly, and a few hours later the symptoms were kicking in.

Her face and arms were covered in hives, and her throat had begun swelling.

Luckily, my aunt checked on her and injected a shot of epinephrine into her before the symptoms got worse. If it wasn’t for the EpiPen that my aunt kept nearby at all times, the results would have been much worse. But now, with the cost hike of the pen, much worse is the fear that my aunt and millions of other parents of kids with allergies have to face.

Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the EpiPen, which so many allergic children and parents have come to rely on, has announced that they will be increasing the price of their EpiPen from $100 to an astonishing $600 for a two pack. The announcement was, of course, met with outrage.

The medication is already extremely overpriced and for low- income parents and families without health insurance, the price increase could mean that they can no longer afford to buy the drug, leaving children with allergies without an emergency back up that could end up saving lives.

This is a reality that many families already live with, according to new research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). According to the AAP’s research, six million American children have food related allergies and low-income children are 2.5 times as likely to be hospitalized due to allergies.

With these statistics out, it’s frightening to see that Mylan, the producer of the EpiPen, is jacking up prices and has been consistent in doing so since 2007, without any real consequence because of one very serious reason: Mylan operates as a monopoly in the production of EpiPens.

Think about it, can you name any other company that makes the same product? No? I couldn’t either.

There are other companies out there who make generic brand Epinephrine auto-injectors, but comparing them to the EpiPen is like comparing a flip-phone to an iPhone. They are astronomically different user experiences.

My aunt isn’t sure if that EpiPen will be an arm’s reach away.

Shayma Musa is a staff writer for The Spectator.