Sen. Kemp Hannon has introduced a bill that would address the recent drastic price increase for a drug that treats anaphylactic shock — a severe, potentially life threatening allergic reaction that can be brought on by something as simple as peanut ingestion or a bee sting.
The bill (S.8189) is an attempt to counter the “unconscionable price increases” of epinephrine injectors, manufactured by Mylan Pharmaceutical.
Individuals prone to anaphylactic shock can purchase epinephrine to have on hand, and a recent law allows these “EpiPens” to be placed in schools, daycare centers, restaurants and other public places to counter sudden anaphylaxis, which can be triggered by allergies to food, stings and certain medications.
Anaphylaxis can bring on rashes, swelling of the throat or tongue, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure,a nd can be deadly in severe cases if not treated quickly.
Mylan has continued to raise the price of the injectors, with one recent 75 percent increase bringing the cost to more than $600, according to Hannon.
Mylan has recently announced they will authorize a generic version of the EpiPen for
$300, which is still more than three times the price of the EpiPen when they acquired the product in 2007.
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch defended her company’s pricing before a congressional committee last week, saying her company generates a profit of about $100 per two injectors.
Under this legislation, a family can request, and a pharmacist can dispense, the less expensive generic version without having to request a new prescription from the prescriber. New York would be joining more than a dozen states that allow for this substitution.
“Given the sharp increase in the price of the EpiPen, this bill ensures access to life-saving epinephrine for children and families,” said Hannon, the Senate Health Committee chair.
In 2007, when Mylan acquired the patent, a package of two injectors cost $100, six times less than today’s price now exceeding $600.
“Last month I wrote the attorney general asking that he pursue all actions against Mylan [Pharmaceutical] and I am pleased he has responded with his announcement … that he will begin an official investigation to put an end to the way they are taking advantage of New Yorkers,” Hannon said.
Mylan recently announced a generic version of the EpiPen for $300, but given that individuals need multiple auto-injectors for home, school, daycare, work, travel and the fact that they expire after a year, Senator Hannon called the price “exorbitant.”
“Mylan has spent billions of dollars making EpiPen a household name synonymous with epinephrine,” Hannon explained. “But there are lesser known products such as generic Adrenaclick which can be purchased for approximately $140 for a two pack.”
Adrenaclick is an alternative epinephrine auto-injector which has two caps, while EpiPen has one. This difference in injector technology prevents a pharmacist from substituting one for another because they are technically two different drugs. A prescriber would have to issue a