EpiPen price hike leaves users outraged

Will the generic version be an acceptable alternative?


photoshop by Mr. Rogers

The cost of an EpiPen has skyrocketed from $100 to $600

Auto injector for severe allergic reactions.
Mark Zaleski
Auto injector for severe allergic reactions.

Many who live in the United States suffer from severe allergies, which could result in a life-threatening allergic reaction. In most cases, epinephrine is used first to treat serious allergic reactions known as an anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is a whole body allergic reaction to a chemical that has an allergen, which is very severe.  EpiPen is a crucial component of their lives.

As of 2009, the price for two devices was about $100, but now prices could be up to at least $600 out of pocket.

Jeff Fitz, the athletic trainer at Elder, weighed in on this controversy.

“EpiPen did a great job making their product available to people who needed it. Since they were the only company on the market, this left the company in charge of pricing,” he said.

Supply and demand my friend, now that all schools must have them, demand is up and so is the price.”

— Jeff Fitz - Elder Athletic trainer

Michael Wynn is a senior at Elder, and has battled with a severe case of peanut allergies his whole life and relies on the EpiPen in every day life.

Mike thinks the outrageous costs of the EpiPen are ridiculous.

“People are relying on the EpiPen to save their lives. By putting a $600 price tag on it, some people are not going to be able to afford it, putting their lives in jeopardy,” he said.

Though many are frustrated by the unjust price increase of the EpiPen, there is a new hope due to the public outcry through generic epinephrine.

I asked the Elder’s school nurse, Mrs. Boles about her thoughts on the cheaper EpiPen and the difference between the regular and generic brands.

Cheaper Epipen but need more safety precautions
Lineage Therapeutics
Cheaper EpiPen but need more safety precautions

“The problem with the generic version is it does not have as many safety features.  For example, when you’re done using the EpiPen there is a safety guide which protects the needle. When you use the generic EpiPen, the tip of the needle is exposed,” she said.

Though many are worried about the tip of the generic EpiPen being exposed, that should not be their biggest worry. Last year, a study was published that most cases of injury were involving cuts or stuck needles because the child did not keep his leg still.

Also, the generic epipen is not made with as much strength.  According to Mike Wynn, the generic EpiPen must be injected two to three times for it to work.

While there are still many obvious glitches in the system, the generic EpiPen offers an affordable outlet for those with any type of allergy.