With the recent media attention on the massive price increases on EpiPen, epinephrine auto-injectors used in emergencies during food allergy reactions, two U.S. senators are speaking out about their concerns to see if the price increases are justified. An EpiPen currently costs approximately $500, whereas it was only $57 in 2007.
Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has written a letter to Mylan, the manufacturer of this life saving drug, asking for the reasons behind the price increases, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.
In the letter to Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, Senator Grassley stated “I am concerned that the substantial price increase could limit access to a much-needed medication.”
Senator Klobuchar is an allergy-parent that is directly impacted by the price increases. In her letter to the Federal Trade Commission, she states “Many Americans, including my own daughter, rely on this life-saving product to treat severe allergic reactions.” She also called the price increase unjustified, putting “life-saving treatment out of reach to the consumers who need it most.”
Currently, there is no generic equivalent for the EpiPen auto-injector, and since the Auvi-Q recall in October 2015, there is no direct competitor. EpiPen has a U.S. patent giving it a monopoly until 2025.
Drug prices will be a hot topic in the upcoming presidential race, and Congressional committees have been investigating many massive price increases by other companies involving drugs for cancer and rare diseases.