Mylan executives have been blasted by consumers for hiking the price of the lifesaving EpiPen over 1,000 percent in an eight-year period. The EpiPen cost the average consumer just $56.64 when Mylan purchased the rights to the product back in 2007. However, as of the second quarter of 2016, the price of the EpiPen had skyrocketed to $608.61. With many allergy sufferers unable to afford the new prices, many families have sought out EpiPen alternatives.
Consumer Affairs reports that, despite only containing just $1 worth of medication, the EpiPen has increased in price consistently over the last eight years. The EpiPen was purchased by Mylan back in 2007 and was initially sold at a price point of $56.64. However, over the years, the company slowly increased prices as market demand for the product increased. The prices increased by over 400 percent between 2007 and 2015, but apparently, those increases weren’t enough for the company as they made two additional increases in May of 2015 and again in the second quarter of 2016. The final price of the EpiPen has landed at an astonishing $608.61.
— The Upshot (@UpshotNYT) August 24, 2016
Interestingly, though the company has tried to justify the price hikes, NBC News reports that Mylan executives were busy giving themselves hefty pay increases as the EpiPen prices skyrocketed. It was reported that Mylan CEO Heather Bresch’s pay increased from $2.4 million in 2007 to $18.9 million in 2015. Mylan relies heavily on the EpiPen for the majority of its profits, with 40 percent of Mylan’s total profits coming from the EpiPen.
EpiPen plot thickens: “Mylan CEO Heather Bresch’s compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068; a 671% increase. https://t.co/8mgNZx0Yif
— Emily Willingham (@ejwillingham) August 23, 2016
Therefore, the company likely doesn’t want consumers to learn that there are two safe alternatives to the EpiPen that won’t force families to choose between putting food on the table and having the lifesaving device on hand.
Kids With Food Allergies reports that there are two alternatives to the EpiPen that can be utilized by allergy sufferers.
“Several epinephrine auto-injectors are now available in the United States. There is also a generic version. Each contains the drug epinephrine. But, each device has its own unique set of instructions for use. Understanding the differences is important so that you get the device you want and you know how to properly use it.”
The alternatives are the Adrenaclick and the generic version of the Adrenaclick called USP auto-injector. The Adrenaclick and its generic form both inject lifesaving epinephrine into the patient at the time of anaphylaxis; however, they are administered somewhat differently.
According to the Pharmacy Times, while Adrenaclick and the USP auto-injector deliver the same lifesaving medication as the EpiPen, they are dispensed differently, and patients should undergo proper training on how to utilize the new device if they previously used a different brand.
“For patients who have been using a particular brand, switching between products increases the likelihood that either the patient or caregiver may be confused when administering the injection, potentially leading to serious clinical outcomes, including death. For example, the EpiPen Auto-Injector requires the removal of only one cap to prepare for administration, while the authorized generic epinephrine autoinjector requires the removal of two caps. If the patient or caregiver attempts to prepare the authorized generic epinephrine auto-injector based on their experience with EpiPen Auto-Injector (removing only the second cap), they may not realize that the drug was not appropriately discharged. In order to avoid confusion, all patients and/or caregivers should be educated on epinephrine auto-injector devices and their proper administration techniques every time a prescription is picked up, confirming not only the instructions for use, but also the product being dispensed.”
While switching from the EpiPen to one of the other two devices may require new training for parents, caregivers and allergy sufferers, it can also result in a significantly less expensive epinephrine option. For example, the Adrenaclick is currently half the price of the EpiPen, retailing at around $300. The USP Auto-Injector can be found at Walmart and Sam’s Club for just $142, meaning you could purchase four USP Auto-Injectors for the price of one EpiPen.
With parents expressing their outrage over the EpiPen price hikes and lawmakers saying they will be investigating the price increase, stock prices for Mylan are beginning to fall. MarketWatch notes that stock prices dropped 11% this week.
“Mylan Inc. MYL, -5.41% has been in focus for the past several sessions as lawmakers have criticized the drugmaker’s decision to raise the price of its EpiPens, widely used to treat anaphylactic shock. Shares sank 5.4%, and are off more than 11% this week.”
The drop in share prices will likely only continue as families switch to EpiPen alternatives such as Adrenaclick and the USP auto-injector and end their loyalty to the EpiPen brand. As Forbes pointed out, Mylan latched on to the fears of parents with children suffering from severe allergies, offering them free products and huge incentives to get their family stuck on the EpiPen brand. Bloomberg notes that Mylan is “a textbook case in savvy branding” with the EpiPen being marketed as the “only” option for families who care about their allergy-suffering child.
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) August 24, 2016
With the price hike making it impossible for some families to afford the injector, Mylan’s worst fears may come to fruition as families begin switching to Adrenaclick and its generic, undergoing new training and forgoing their old EpiPen loyalty.
What do you think about Mylan’s price hike of the EpiPen? Do you think the price increase will encourage families to look into EpiPen alternatives such as Adrenaclick and the USP auto-injector?
[Image via ThinkStock]