Those of you with allergies or who are using Bee Venom Therapy for MSIDS (multi systemic infectious disease syndrome – or Lyme with friends), have undoubtedly discovered the crazy price hike in Epi-pens.  

Although the epinephrine in the EpiPen costs about a dollar, the list price for a two-pack is currently over $600 in the U.S.  EpiPen sales brought in $1.2 billion in 2015 which meant a 461% price increase from 2007 to 2015.  Mylan CEO Heather Bresch got a 671% increase in  compensation and went from $2.5 million to $19 million.

“Mylan has tried to downplay the drug’s outrageous cost by saying that most patients have insurance coverage and they offer coupons to help reduce co-payments. People with high deductibles may still end up paying most of the costs out of pocket, however, and as The New York Times continued:4

Such co-payment assistance is part of the standard playbook for companies selling expensive drugs: The goal is to spare the consumer, who might create a political uproar, and yet still get paid by the insurance company or government health program.’

Ultimately, inflated drug costs are often passed down to consumers in the form of higher premiums from insurance companies and higher taxes to cover government health programs.

It should be noted, too, that most people have to purchase new EpiPens every year, even if they don’t use them, because they have a one-year expiration date. Some, however, are taking a gamble by keeping their expired EpiPens in lieu of spending hundreds of dollars on a new set.”

Mylan may be hiking prices before the introduction of a generic, which was expected last year, but U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected the generic version (made by Teva), and Sanofi’s Auvi-Q, another alternative, was pulled from the market due to problems with dosing.

The New York Times reported, “So rather than a last grasp for profits, Mylan has a near monopoly now, allowing it to continue the price increases for at least another year.”

Well I don’t know about your world, but where I live there are many MSIDS patients without insurance due to the fact insurance hardly ever covers proper treatment (anything outside the CDC guidelines of essentially 21 days of doxy), as well as the fact many are opposed to many unethical issues with Obamacare, as well as the fact they simply can’t afford it as they are paying out of pocket for proper MSIDS treatment outside the CDC’s box of horrors.  So the very people needing EpiPens are caught in the cross-fire and are without this insurance that’s supposed to pay these horrific prices.

Also, a bit of a history lesson on medical insurance from my 97 year old retired doctor who remembers:  Medical insurance was created to fill the gap from when farmers needed health care to when their crops came in, went to market, and they ultimately got paid so they could pay their own medical bill.  That’s it.  It helped them in the gap.

Ponder that and you will realize we have NOT “come a long way, baby.”