Monday, August 29, 2016

What Congress Should Do About the Mylan Epipen Price Gouge

Recently, it became known that a pair of life-saving Epipens from Mylan Labs now cost more than $600. Pricing them well out of reach for most of the 50 million families who depend on this drug to counter anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) and potential death; primarily in children.  While Mylan tried to squirm around this price gouge, the public outcry was totally justified, especially when its revealed   that each pen only uses a dollar's worth of epinephrine, and the delivery pen
 itself, only costs a few more dollars to make.  But, since Mylan is the only provider of the Epipen in the U.S., Mylan can charge whatever they want.  Even though the pens, themselves, have been off-patent for years, potential competitors have a costly and difficult time getting them approved through our Food and Drug Administrations.

Interestingly, Canadians have multiple choices; and they are only paying $225.42 in U.S. dollars for a 0.3 mg adult Epipen that they import from the United Kingdom.  So, why can't Congress mandate the importation of Epipens from the United Kingdom at the same price the Canadians are paying for them?  I realize that importing foreign-made drugs is a violation of our laws. It is also required that the Food and Drug Administration be able to inspect manufacturing facilities to insure efficacy and purity.  But, sometimes, it may be necessary to send a message to the drug manufacturers that price gouging won't be tolerated.  I hardly think that an Epipen device, sold both in the United Kingdom and Canada, would be too unsafe a product to sell in the U.S..


EpiPens cost just several dollars to make. Customers pay more than $600 for them:

Canada Drugs: 0.3 Epipens:

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