Remember the EpiPen incident from September 2016? The auto-injection adrenaline system that wards off anaphylactic shock? Yes, the same device my honey and I neglected to pack in our bike gear on that beautiful September morning?
Yes, that same September day when she got stung by an unknown insect and went into anaphylactic shock. I needed to call 911 from the bike path and she ended up spending the afternoon in the emergency room. Neither of us will ever forget that day. If you don’t remember it, check it out here.
Anaphylactic shock is serious and if not treated can be fatal. We were lucky in that we were able to pedal close to where we parked the car and the emergency personnel were able to reach us fairly easily. I shudder to think if we were 1/2 mile farther along in our ride, the ambulance would not have been able to get to us on the narrow bicycle path.
In September of 2016, the EpiPen cost approximately $600 to purchase (for a 2 pack), even for my honey who has health insurance.
According to Wikipedia in 2009 the price of a 2 pack was $100. In 2013 it jumped to $265. In 2015 it rose to $461 and by the time of our eventful bike ride in September 2016, Mylan increased the price to $609 bucks. This is a 500% increase in the cost of the medicine over a 7 year period.
It costs Mylan (the manufacturer), approximately $35 (including the cost of the drug) to make. Why did they hike up the cost so much? I guess because the could.
Imagine if the cost of your favorite beer increased by 500% over a measly 7 years. Or if the cost of your favorite ice cream increased by this much!
The outrageous price tag on an inexpensive medicine caused my honey, and I would imagine many others to carry expired EpiPens or to go without them altogether. It is hard to choose health when the costs are so high. Others resorted to more drastic measures such as making their own! Crazy right?
We are pretty frugal, and the idea of spending $600 on something you hope you never need to use, is hard to swallow. To make matters worse, the EpiPen has an expiration date and like any expired medicine you don’t really know how well it will work once that date has passed. So you toss it but then need to spend another $600 to replace it.
Rinse and repeat…
My honey was lucky and a friend gave her an EpiPen (that was not expired). Her friends insurance company covered it, and her out-of-pocket cost was nominal.
Ready for some Good News?
The other day, I read here that a new product is coming out soon that will alleviate this issue for my honey and a majority of others. According to CNBC, a company called Kaleo will release a new auto injection epinephrine system called Auvi-Q in February 2017. It states the company will have an affordability guarantee of no out-of-pocket cost (FREE) for U.S. patients with health insurance and for those without who earn less than $100,000. For those who don’t qualify for the free medicine, the cost will be $360 for a 2-pack.
CVS Pharmacy already offers an alternative to Mylan’s EpiPen. It is a generic version of Adrenalclick at the cost to the consumer of $109.99.
It is nice to know that low-cost versions of this life saving medicine are now available for those who need it! Shame on Mylan for charging exorbitant prices for an inexpensive medicine that people could die without, simply because they got stung by a bee!
Do you need to carry an EpiPen? Have you figured out an affordable solution?
Bike on (with your EpiPen)!