It seems that the pharmaceutical industry is in the news every other day. And with such frequency, the stories almost tend to repeat themselves or even blend together. This especially true for the latest heated debate over the EpiPen price hike. Which is effecting much more than the consumers’ pockets. Prepare yourself for more anaphylaxis related visits to your facility.
For the past few years, Mylan, the corporation behind EpiPen, has been incrementally increasing the price of the drug. If you been living under a rock since 2009, EpiPen is no longer $100, but comes in a two-pack for $600. That’s right, that’s a 400% increase. In order to cut costs, more and more states are training their medical responders how to administer epinephrine injections. In other words, they have resorted to making their own EpiPen kits, with instructions and syringes.
If medical responders are finding a way to make do, you can bet that school are scrambling to do the same. Luckily, Mylan offers some support with their EpiPen4Schools® program, which gives free EpiPens to participating schools. But according to their website, only half of the schools in U.S. are participating.
This is just one of the many programs Mylan has created or proposed to get into the consumers’ good graces by making EpiPen more accessible. Most recently, Mylan confirmed that they will launch their generic version in the coming weeks. However, despite all their efforts, EpiPen’s price tag remains unchanged. And those with food allergies aren’t the only ones suffering. Because taxpayers fund school budgets and EpiPens are covered by Medicaid, everyone’s wallet is getting hit one way or the other.
What Nurses Need to Know
Pharmaceutical price hikes tends to inspire some creativity among its consumers. Some are already shopping for the drug elsewhere. In fact, our neighbor’s grass is looking pretty green right about now. Due to their regulations on their pricing system, EpiPen’s price in Canada has remained consistent at the $120 price range these past few years.
Remind your patients of the dangers of buying prescriptions outside of their usual pharmacy, and the dangers of using an expired EpiPen. Many may have the notion to take the expiration date as a mere suggestion in order to “save” it for a time they really need it. Desperate times calls for desperate measures, even questionable ones.