A huge new controversy over something that could save the lives of children has experts concerned.
A fierce new battle is being waged in public, and the safety of countless children in the United States may be at stake: pharmaceutical company Mylan is jacking up the cost of the EpiPen to staggering levels, and it’s leading to huge complaints and criticism of the company for profiteering off a medical tool used to keep children from dying from a severe food allergic reaction.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has jumped into the fray after Mylan increased the price of the EpiPen to $500 or more for a two-pack, forcing families who don’t have a choice not to have the EpiPen on hand to pony up or else. AAP is slamming the price increase and demanding that authorities take action over the issue.
AAP President Benard Dreyer saidurged for solutions to be supplied urgently, and he called on families, doctor, distributors, and the government to act to stop this from happening, as teh AAP recommends two epinephrine auto-injectors be always kept on hand for families of children with food allergies — and EpiPen is typically the only realistic option.
One option is for families to use a local pharmacy that has the generic form of Adrenaclick, the AAP said, which is much cheaper than EpiPen and just as effective. Better health insurance plans may also be necessary, as well as willingness to keep requesting coverage of the EpiPen even when it is denied the first time.
“Urgent solutions are needed,” said AAP President Benard P. Dreyer, M.D., FAAP, in the statement. “Now is the time for all interested stakeholders — families, doctors, manufacturers, distributors, payers and government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration — to act quickly to alleviate the financial hardships faced by families. Every child’s safety is of equal importance, and no parent should have to worry about how to pay for access to life-saving allergy medication for their child”
Michael J. Welch, M.D., FAAP, FAAAAI, past chair of the AAP Section on Allergy and Immunology, said pediatricians need to take action.
“The pediatrician has to be the advocate for these patients who are affected by this and there are some things they can do,” he said.
Added Dreyer: “The high cost of these devices imposes a significant financial burden on families and places an obstacle in these patients’ access to lifesaving medical care where they live, learn and play. The AAP will continue to work with Congress and press the Food and Drug Administration to find a way to make the product affordable to the families who need this medicine.”