Allergic to the New Price
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Mylan, the company manufacturing EpiPens, has raised the price of the EpiPen to$ 600. A a pack of two EpiPens used to cost $100 in 2008. The price has risen by 400%, and the salary of the Mylan CEO has risen by 500%. An Epipen is a lifesaving device that injects adrenaline into the body of someone suffering anaphylaxis, a dangerous and potentially-fatal allergic reaction. This causes the tongue or throat to swell and cuts off the air supply of the person having the allergic reaction. Using CPR on someone suffering anaphylaxis will be ineffective, because the airway closes entirely. Not everyone who has allergies needs an EpiPen; only those whose allergies are life threatening do.
“Most life threatening allergies are caused by food or insect bites” said Kathleen Cline, a nurse in the East building at Cherry Creek. Some health insurance plans cover EpiPens but many do not. Many people who need EpiPens buy several packs in order to always make sure that they have one, whether they are at home, at work, at school, or in the car.
“I have one that we needed to buy for the school. Then we have one at home, but it’s expired, because we can’t afford to buy a new one. We figured it’s better than nothing”, said a Cherry Creek Senior. Students can have EpiPens in both the East and West building but the family of the student must pay for at least one of the two Epipens. This student doesn’t carry an EpiPen with them at all times because they don’t have the money to buy more, or one that isn’t several years expired.
Some insurances only allow for the Mylan EpiPen, which causes problems for people who need EpiPens but can’t afford to pay the high price Mylan charges. Mylan has a way for customers to get EpiPens at a reduced price, but $300 is still quite expensive and for some people it is too much.
There is an alternative to the EpiPen. Someone suffering a life threatening allergic reaction can open a vial of the epinephrine and fill a syringe with it. This method takes much longer and it can be a challenge to get the correct amount of the epinephrine. For someone struggling to breathe, this can be especially difficult.