Staff Editorial: EpiPen price hike takes advantage of users


Illustration by Aparnna Manoj

One in every 13 students under the age of 18 has a possibly life-threatening allergy. That means almost 300 students at this school could potentially go into anaphylactic shock from coming in contact with their allergens. Many of those students may be left helpless if they are not able to keep up with the seemingly ever-rising price of EpiPens. Mylan’s, the company that owns EpiPen, continuous price increase on their product is unethical.

Since 2008, EpiPens have gone up in price by approximately 600%. Experts claim the medicinal value of the EpiPen is approximately $1 and in total costs $7 to make. This price increase is completely excessive. With little to no changes to the formula or the device itself, a price mark up this high is plainly absurd. For a device that is designed to save lives, making it inaccessible to the general population is like signing a death certificate. At the school, there are only three students certified and unquestionably carrying EpiPens. EpiPens expire within a year and a half and repurchasing a $600 product often proves to be too much for many users. When users would rather take a chance with death than buy an overpriced EpiPen, there is a problem.

The EpiPen has been saving lives since its creation, that is an undeniable fact. But now the ethics of this company have been skewed. Mylan has created a money game instead of honoring what the device was first created for: saving lives. Every three minutes a food allergy sends someone to the emergency room, and with anaphylactic shock, minutes add up. A case of a simple “allergy attack” could turn into a case of “too little, too late” with the upped price of EpiPens.

Normally, drug companies mark up their prices to cover necessary costs of research and development, but nothing about the EpiPen has changed in years. Thanks to the price increases, EpiPen has become a billion-dollar business. As of now, no product has come close to the success of the EpiPen, giving Mylan a virtual monopoly of the drug market. The U.S. saw a monopoly similar to this with the 5400% price increase of the AIDS drug Daraprim. With no competition, companies like Mylan are able to take advantage of those who need their product, and essentially take their money while they’re at it.

While it’s true that you can’t put a price on saving a life, EpiPen has taken advantage of that mentality. Mylan is leaving no safe choice for those who suffer from life-threatening allergies. A 600% price increase deserves more than just a slap on the wrist, and at this point, Mylan hasn’t even gotten that. Even though this has caused an outrage, it’s currently not enough to put Mylan in their place.

Not only has EpiPen’s price increase put people in potential danger, it’s ruined the image of the company. No longer is Mylan the company with the incredible product that saves lives, it’s become a company filled with greed and has lost the respect of many of its users. It certainly isn’t enough to shame the company into lowering their prices, but it’s a start. The EpiPen monopoly shouldn’t be allowed to continue.