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Doctors Families Concerned about Increasing Price of EpiPens

Aug 29, 2016

EpiPens are auto-injectors that could mean the difference between life-and-death during an allergic reaction. They are the most commonly prescribed auto-injector on the market, and used by both adults and children with severe allergies. The increasing price tag, however, has some doctors and families concerned.

EpiPens administer epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, during an anaphylactic reaction, which can cause throat swelling and restrict breathing, among other things. EpiPens are often included in first aid kits and can be found in schools and offices.

According to Newsday and the Associated Press, a pair of EpiPen syringes costed $93.88 when Mylan took over the rights to the product in 2007. Today, the same pair is priced at over $600. Members of Congress have called on Mylan to explain the rising costs. In a statement, the company said that the prices have been increasing but did not specify why.

Mylan offers a $100 coupon on its website, officials said. Newsday and AP report that families say the high prices are an added financial stressor due to changes in the insurance industry and high deductible plans.

Dr. Susan Schuval, chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Stony Brook University Hospital said "EpiPen is a first-line therapy. It can be lifesaving, so it needs to be available to the patient at an affordable price," Newsday and AP report.

Dr. Schuval says that for anyone with a severe allergy, EpiPen is the standard prescription at Stony Brook. She told Newsday and AP, "They usually can get a reduction in their copay, but for patients without insurance, it can be an issue," she said. "We're expecting it to be a big problem in the future."

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