Both consumers and healthcare providers have been unpleasantly surprised by the recent increasing prices of EpiPen auto-injectors. News sources* cite price rises of 32% in one year and of 567% over a 10-year period. These higher EpiPen costs have been accompanied by a 67 percent increase in the number of patients using EpiPens during the past seven years. Despite the rising prices, it is important for anyone who is susceptible to anaphylactic reactions to be prepared for an emergency. As the Allergy and Asthma Foundation points out, between two and five percent of people in America will have an anaphylactic emergency.
Because dentists are doctors, they are obligated to be prepared for medical emergencies like anaphylaxis. Dr. Stanley Malamed, an expert in emergency medicine for dentists, indicates that epinephrine auto-injectors are the fastest way to ensure that patients suffering from anaphylaxis receive the life-saving injection.
A Bloomberg Businessweek article in September 2015 detailed a number of reasons behind the increased demand and prices for EpiPens. Overall, it pointed to a savvy marketing strategy by Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures EpiPens, as well as legislative changes across the USA. Many of these new laws were influenced by Mylan’s public awareness campaigns that focused on child allergies, preparedness and treatment.
Some of the top reasons for the growth in demand and prices include:
- Public entity legislation requiring EpiPens in public places such as restaurants and hotels
- 47 states require or encourage schools to stock the devices
- New federal guidelines in 2010 indicated patients with severe reactions should be prescribed two doses instead of one
- Mylan stopped selling single pens in favor of twin packs in 2010 (however, single EpiPens and other epinephrine auto-injectors are available from HealthFirst)
- FDA changed label rules to allow EpiPens to be marketed to anyone at risk, rather than only those who’d already had an anaphylaxis reaction
- Parents of children with allergies purchasing multiple units for better preparedness and peace of mind
So here’s how you can save some money on your epinephrine auto-injector
We recommend two steps that lower the cost of an epinephrine auto-injector while still ensuring that you meet the recommendations of Dr. Malamed and Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office:
1) Purchase lower-cost, non-Mylan epinephrine auto-injectors from HealthFirst.
2) Purchase single units of epinephrine auto-injectors from HealthFirst.