Staff editorial: EpiPens should be more affordable

The federal government should investigate inflated costs of the life-saving drug, epinephrine, to allow equal access

JagWire staff

EpiPens, an injectable emergency medicine for allergic reactions, are a necessity for people living with severe allergies. This device have been around since the 1980s, but over the last few years has grown exponentially more expensive.

Several senators have asked the federal government to review prices of EpiPens, proposing legislation to make them more affordable for the 43 million Americans that need them, according to CNBC. The unreasonable increase of the price of EpiPens should be investigated by the federal government, which will hopefully lower the cost and therefore give people equal access to the device.

According to CNBC, of the last four years, the cost of a two pack of EpiPens has increased about 264 percent, from $165 to over $600. Comparatively, in Europe today, EpiPens cost a mere $100 to $150. Anyone who depends on EpiPens to protect themselves from anaphylaxis, a fatal allergic reaction, deserves the same opportunity to afford them.

Those who cannot afford EpiPens can apply for an EpiPen Savings Card, which reduces up to $300 off a two pack, according to its website. To obtain this savings card, however, you must have non-federally funded health insurance, excluding Medicare and those covered under the Affordable Healthcare Act.AS_epipens

EpiPen producer Mylan Pharmaceuticals is facing public criticism, and CEO Heather Bresch agrees that prices are shockingly high. According to CNBC, Bresch estimated the company profits about $137 per pen, proving that prices could be reduced and still support production.

This is not just a random kink in the economics of the pharmaceutical industry. Over the course of the past few years, prices for hundreds of other drugs have risen exponentially as well. Heart medication such as Isuprel increased its prices by 525 percent overnight after a buyout from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, according to the New York Times. These companies have established a niche market and are able to control prices with little interference from competitors.

The problem seems to lie in the corporate management of drug companies themselves. We are just high school students, and though none of us have any degrees in economics, we recognize the injustice of these inflated prices and ask for action to be taken.

Students here in particular rely on EpiPens as a matter of life or death. Without them, an allergic reaction could be fatal. It sounds cliché, but writing in to our congressman Kevin Yoder could help support the lives of students at our own school.

We care about the lives of our classmates and think everyone should be able to afford a life-saving device such as an EpiPen. Surviving an allergic reaction should not be a luxury, and it should not cost a family a fortune. The federal government should propose legislation about the increased price of EpiPens, as well as other pharmaceutical drugs, to better support a nation of families desperately seeking emergency medicine.

Illustration by Avery Sheltra

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