Two United States Senators have raised concerns about huge increases of price on a drug that is used for emergency conditions when there is a food allergy reaction.
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa wrote to Mylan the maker of the drug asking them for reasons why the price has been increasing for their EpiPen. The epinephrine auto-injector treats allergy reactions and its price has increased from $57 during 2007 to close to $500 at present.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has requested that the Federal Trade Commission look into the price increase.
Grassley said he was concerned that the massive price increase might limit the access of the much needed medication, in his letter addressed to Heather Bresch the CEO at Mylan.
Since the use of the drug is during emergency treatment, it is not only patients that purchase it, but government institutes such as public schools, says Grassley.
Many children that are prescribed the EpiPen are covered through Medicaid and that means taxpayers are footing the bill for the drug, wrote Grassley.
Klobuchar said her family was touched directly with regard to the hike in prices for the medication. She said that many Americans, and that included her daughter, rely on the life-saving device to treat a severe allergic reaction.
She added that although antitrust laws do not prohibit any price gouging, they do stop the use of any unreasonable restraints to trade to facilitate or protect against price increase.
Klobuchar called the increase in price unjustified, putting the out of reach the treatment that is life-saving to consumers who are in need of its most.
There is not a generic equivalent for the drug and not any direct competitor. In addition, consumers with health insurance, that has a high deductable will have to pay out more from their pocket to cover the costs for the treatment.
Mylan released a prepared statement that did not defend in specific the increase in price, but did note that many consumers might be exposed the prices due to them switching to insurance that has high deductibles.
In the past, policyholders may have had just a co-pay of $25 and did not know the drug’s full price.
As many as 6% of children have some type of food allergy, with some studies indicating that as many as 18% of them having some reaction after consuming something while at school that causes a reaction.
Nine out of 10 schools across the nation had one student or more with a food allergy.