HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The cost of an EpiPen, a medication injector used during life-threatening allergic reactions, is now more than some families' monthly rent. The drug manufacturer has continued to raise the price over the last eight years. Patients are advised to replace their EpiPen's annually. But for many, that has become impossible.
The price for the EpiPen has steadily increased since 2009 by more than 400 percent. Huntsville Hospital pharmacist Michele Durda said the rise in cost is drastic.
"Back in the mid-2000's, you could get an EpiPen for around a hundred dollars. And they've gone, now it's really more up into the five hundred dollar range," she said.
Durda said the price hike is due to EpiPen company Mylan's control of the market.
"The EpiPen really does not have much competition. It's the brand name everybody knows, and so that's what your doctor's going to write for, and I said, there' s no generic equivalent," she adds.
Durda said this monopoly has allowed Mylan to raise the price without many consequences. Her fear is this will cause people to take safety risks in order to cut costs.
"So they may choose to keep expired product, or they may choose to only carry one pen rather than two, which is risky because it's not uncommon for an anaphylactic reaction to require two doses,"she said.
Durda wants to stress that despite the EpiPen's price rise, if you or a child has an allergy, it could mean life or death. She urges parents not to risk it.
With all the controversy surrounding the price rise, public opinion has had an impact. Thursday Mylan announced it would provide new savings cards worth $300 to those who pay full price for their EpiPens.