Trending Topics

Some patients forgo EpiPens because they’re too expensive

Prices for the trusted epinephrine auto-injectors have increased six times in the last few years


An EpiPen, used to treat anaphylactic shock.

Photo/Bay Area News Group/Anda Chu

LEXINGTON, Ky. — EpiPens can be the difference between life and death during a severe allergic reaction, but rising costs have discouraged patients from buying them.

“Within the last two months, we’ve had about three patients who had issues with the price of an EpiPen,” pharmacist Leon Tarasenko said. “They just refused to take it.”

According to CBS News, the cost of an EpiPen shot has risen from $50 in 2009 to over $300 today. The high price has led some patients to risk their health just to avoid paying for a brand name auto-injector.

“If they don’t have [the EpiPen], it could mean life or death,” said Tarasenko.

Some have held on to their unused EpiPens, but many don’t realize that epinephrine loses much of its potency after being stored for longer than a year.

Others have started carrying syringes filled with epinephrine. They’re much cheaper than the auto-injectors, but far more difficult for someone with no medical training to use. That could be a problem if the patient loses consciousness while suffering an allergic reaction.

Though the actual medication inside of an EpiPen can be manufactured for only a few dollars, pharmaceutical company Mylan has been able to raise prices about 400 percent ever since acquiring the brand in 2007.

Revenue from EpiPen sales makes up about 40 percent of their profits.