An EpiPen is 500% more expensive than it was in 2007 -- here's how that happened

People are freaking out about the high price of EpiPens. 

Tensions over this issue have flared up this week as senators and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have taken a stand against the price of the medicine. The EpiPen is a device used in emergencies to treat anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can make people go into shock, struggle to breathe, or get a skin rash.

Since 2007, when Mylan Pharmaceuticals bought the EpiPen from Merck KGaA, the list price of a two-pack of the drug has gone up from $93.88 to $608.61 as of May 16, 2016 according to Truven Health Analytics. That’s an increase of more than 500%.

The list price isn’t typically what a consumer with health insurance or coupons might pay.

In response to questions about its high list price, Mylan noted in an email to Business Insider that about 80% of people with commercial insurance who also used a “My EpiPen Savings Card” received the device for $0. The company also pointed to changing healthcare plans that have higher deductibles, leaving families on the hook for more of the prescription’s cost than in the past. 

“This shift has presented new challenges for consumers, and they are bearing more of the cost,” Mylan said. “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 payors to find solutions to meet the needs of the patients and families we serve.”

But it might be something the company will need to address sooner rather than later, with congressional committees asking for a briefing on how Mylan set the EpiPen’s price in the next two weeks.

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