Recently, the price for the essential treatment of severe allergic reactions (anaphylactic shock) called the EpiPen®, sold by the company Mylan Pharmaceuticals, have risen almost 400% in the United States. According to Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database, what used to cost $93.88 back in 2007 will now cost about $600. This surprising rise in price for these important devices has caused quite the uproar within the United States.
EpiPens® are very important for the survival of people who suffer from severe allergic reactions to certain substances, such as nuts or bee stings. Some symptoms of anaphylactic shock are wheezing, hives, skin swelling, trouble breathing, fast heartbeat, and possibly convulsions. When a person is in anaphylactic shock, the EpiPen® is used to inject epinephrine into the muscle tissue to treat the anaphylaxis. On average, EpiPens® have a shelf life of about 12-18 months, so to pay this every year is frustrating and upsetting for patients. Many politicians and consumers have raised their concern about this rise in price. Due to this, Mylan has just announced that a more generic version of the EpiPen 2-pack® will be sold at half the $600 list price and will be available in 0.15 mg and 0.30 mg strengths, which is the same as is on the market right now. Mylan has also expanded their assistance program in order to help people afford EpiPens®. These high prices for EpiPens® have caused other drug companies to try to get U.S. approval to sell a generic form of the EpiPen® as well, in order to compete with EpiPen® manufacturer, Mylan.
In Canada, Pfizer Canada distributes EpiPens® through a license obtained from Mylan. Pfizer has commented on this issue and says that the price of EpiPens® has not changed in Canada and does not plan to do so in the near future, staying at the current value of approximately $100 Canadian. Instead of specific companies controlling the drug prices in Canada, Patent Medicine Prices Review Board regulates the price of drug products.
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