As the controversy over the skyrocketing price of an EpiPen continues, a University of South Carolina clinical nursing professor says children who need the device and cannot get one are in danger.
The device injects medicine to stop allergic reactions primarily in children. Professor Kate Chappell told South Carolina Radio Network, that if its affordability is out of reach, parents and teachers will have to rely on emergency medical services. “That’s not as good as having the medication on hand,” she said.
“Typically six, seven minutes response time is pretty good,”Chappell said. “But that’s not as good as having the medication on hand if was to be an airway compromise.”
EpiPen is sold by pharmaceutical company Mylan, which incrementally hiked its price more than 500 percent over the last nine years, pushing its list price for a two-syringe pack from $94 to more than $600.
“If something happens to that company then all the sudden we don’t have a supplier. But of course it can also cause a problem that they have no competition,” Chappell said, noting the company’s patent prevents other pharmaeutical corporations from manufacturing the device.
In the firestorm of controversy surrounding the price, Mylan has taken action to enhance access expanding existing programs for those who are facing higher out-of-pocket costs. In press release last week, the company said it is reducing the cost through a savings card which will cover up to $300 for a 2-pack.
Mylan also is doubling the eligibility for its patient assistance program, which will eliminate out-of-pocket for uninsured and under-insured patients and families as well. The company says it also donates EpiPens to participating schools, usually about four per school.
According to a graph on the press release, the out-of-pocket price could still be $300 for some with insurance if the plan requires a $600 deductible.