In 2007 pharmaceutical company, Mylan purchased EpiPen in the hopes to increase the use of the device across the nation. The company marketed the pen to Disney cruise ships, theme parks, and other businesses. Since 2009, the Mylan has increased the prices on EpiPens from $100 for a two-pack to $608.61, a price that some are saying is unethical.
Mylan’s CEO, Heather Bresch is unapologetic about the price increase. She blames the complexities of the health-care system for making it appear as if her company reaps in huge profits from the sales of the EpiPen. According to official reports, Mylan reported only an 8.9% profit margin for the EpiPen in 2015, but other economic and pricing experts speculate the profit margin is closer to 55%.
While the prices for EpiPens have been increasing for several years, many customers did not notice at first because most of the cost was covered by the insurance deductibles, and the increase was gradual. Today, more than 25 percent of working Americans are now on higher deductible health care insurance plans; this means consumers pay more out of pocket before their insurance kicks in. In fact, Mylan blames these new high-deductible medical plans as the reason for EpiPen customer struggles.
Presumably, the reason employers are moving to high-deductible insurance plans is due to health insurance companies are increasing costs for plans due to drug companies like Mylan hiking up drug prices.
Thankfully, there is a cheaper competitor to the EpiPen that costs 50 percent less. The generic brand to the EpiPen is not prescribed as often, however, due to semantics in wording. Most doctors prescribe the “EpiPen or another generic equivalent” not realizing the pharmacist is unable to substitute for the generic. This is because the generic off-brand equivalent to the EpiPen is technically only authorized as the generic for Adrenaclick.
While many experts and lawmakers all believe this price hike by Mylan is unethical, there are not any solutions arising yet out of the outrage. Currently, CEO of the Food Allergy Research & Education Company believes that competition is the key to bringing down the prices for EpiPen. If enough consumers become aware of the generic brand options currently available on the market and switch to using those brands, Mylan will be forced to lower their prices to a more ethical price point.