AMA Urges EpiPen Manufacturer to Rein in Exorbitant Costs

CHICAGO — With EpiPen maker Mylan facing a firestorm of criticism over the soaring cost of EpiPens, American Medical Assoc. (AMA) President Dr. Andrew Gurman added the organization’s voice to those clamoring for relief.

“With Americans across the country sending their children back to school this month, many parents and schools are encountering sticker shock over the cost of EpiPens,” Gurman said. “Although the product is unchanged since 2009, the cost has skyrocketed by more than 400{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} during that period. The AMA has long urged the pharmaceutical industry to exercise reasonable restraint in drug pricing, and, with lives on the line, we urge the manufacturer to do all it can to rein in these exorbitant costs.”

A two-pack of EpiPens now costs about $600 without insurance, up from $100 in 2009. The pen delivers a dose of epinephrine, a hormone also known as adrenaline that can help relax muscles in the airways in the midst of a severe allergic reaction.

Many consumers hadn’t noticed the gradual rise in price because insurance companies made up the difference. But recent changes in deductibles and co-pays for some health plans have exposed more families to the higher cost.

The medication itself isn’t expensive; the dosage contained in a single pen is worth about $1. But Mylan holds the patent — and a monopoly — on the injector mechanism.

“With many parents required to buy two or more sets of EpiPens just to keep their children safe, the high cost of these devices may either keep them out of reach of people in need or force some families to choose between EpiPens and other essentials,” Gurman said. “The AMA will continue to promote market-based strategies to achieve access to and affordability of healthcare goods and services.”