Parents of children with allergies are furious about the recent 400% price hike in the US for EpiPens, portable auto-injecting devices that can potentially stop a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Manufactured by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, many kids with allergies depend on EpiPens to save their lives and even bring the devices to school with them, in the event of a severe reaction while away from their parents.
The devices formerly sold for nearly $100 in 2008, NBC News reports, but two-packs are now retailing for $500 and up. The steep cost is a price that many parents across the US cannot afford, and they’re worried that the price increase is putting their children’s lives at risk.
“Patients are calling and saying they can’t afford it. They’re between a rock and a hard place” Dr. Douglas McMahon, an allergy specialist in Maplewood, Minnesota, told NBC News.
As a result, parents are taking to social media to air their frustrations, many of them urging Mylan to rethink the cost and consider their children’s lives.
In response to a Forbes article about the price hike, one parent clarified that people with life-threatening allergies are actually supposed to carry two EpiPens at all times.
“If you administer one and it is more than 15 minutes before you are in emergency care, you have to administer the second one,” the parent wrote.
In an emailed statement to Gizmodo, Mylan said:
“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. This shift, along with other insurance landscape changes, 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 recognise the need and are committed to working with customers and payers to find solutions to meet the needs of the patients and families we serve.”
The company added that it has several programs to supplement the cost of EpiPens, including a cost savings card.
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