EpiPen Maker Under Fire After Hiking Price of Live-Saving Injector to $500
Doctors and parents are speaking out after Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPen, raised the price of the allergy injector again to over $500, a more than 400 percent hike since they started selling the product in 2007.
The small device filled with epinephrine that many parents, kids and adults carry around in case of a life-threatening allergic reaction from bees, peanuts and more cost just $57 when Mylan bought the company in 2007, according to Bloomberg News.
Since then, the price has soared each year, and went up 32 percent between just 2014 and 2015.
Mylan now earns around $1.2 billion in profits, according to NBC News, thanks to strong marketing campaigns that lobbied for regulations requiring most U.S. schools to carry EpiPens in nurses’ offices. Additionally, Mylan is now the only brand on the market, as the only other producers of an auto-injector of epinephrine folded in February.
Parents have filled the company’s Facebook page with negative comments.
“I am disgusted to find out about the enormous price hike for the Epipen,” writes one woman. “My son has life threatening allergies and I am required to have a twin pack at school and a twin pack at home. I have a high deductible HSA plan and am expected to pay about $700 to refill. Are you kidding me??? This is a disgrace and seems unethical. How do you people live with yourselves? There needs to be an investigation into this immediately.”
“The recent price increase on the epipen has left myself and thousands of other people unable to afford a medication that could be the only thing to save or lives,” adds another. “Your company and their greedy price grabbing practices are just another symptom of how screwed up our health care system is in the US, but you could do the right thing and cut prices to save people’s lives. Instead you just keep increasing it.”
In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Lauren Kashtan, Mylan’s head of North America communications, says that the price shift is due to rising costs throughout healthcare.
“With changes in the healthcare insurance landscape, an increasing number of people and families are enrolled in high deductible health plans, and deductible amounts continue to rise,” Kashtan says. “This shift has presented new challenges for consumers, and they are bearing more of the cost. This change to the industry is not an easy challenge to address, but we recognize the need and are committed to working with customers and payors to find solutions to meet the needs of the patients and families we serve.”
The statement also includes information about how to use coupons to receive the device for free, however they require patients to be commercially insured.
RELATED VIDEO: Find Out Why Martin Shkreli Claims He Lost 15 Million Dollars Over Kanye Album
Multiple U.S. senators have since reached out to the company to determine the cause of the price hike, including Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, and former presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
“The drug industry’s greed knows no bounds,” Sanders told NBC News. “There’s no reason an EpiPen, which costs Mylan just a few dollars to make, should cost families more than $600. The only explanation for Mylan raising the price by six times since 2009 is that the company values profits more than the lives of millions of Americans.”
Martin Shkreli, the former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC who famously upped the price of the malaria and HIV medicine Darapim from $13.50 to $750 overnight and is out on bail awaiting trial for a separate money laundering scheme, even spoke up about Mylan’s price hike.
“These guys are really vultures,” he told NBC News. “What drives this company’s moral compass?”