WTVM Editorial 8/26/16: EpiPen price gouge?

WTVM Editorial 8/26/16: EpiPen price gouge?

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Until last week I had never heard of the drug company Mylan, but almost everyone knows what they make: the EpiPen, which now has a price tag of $608 dollars.

My sister keeps an EpiPen constantly handy in case she needs to counteract her deadly allergy to fire ants.

Many children with nut allergies or other severe allergies would die without the lifesaving epinephrine the pens instantly dispense into the bloodstream.

And families often need to keep multiple EpiPens at home and work or school.

The Mylan company hoped to kill the controversy over the new $608 price tag which is a jaw-dropping 653 percent price increase over nine years, by offering $300 discount cards.

But the very small fine print spells out the fact that the discount does not apply to the uninsured, nor does it apply to anyone using Medicaid or Medicare, only those who pay full price through insurance companies.

The CEO of EpiPen's maker claims they keep just $270 of the $608 price tag, with the rest getting gobbled up by the insurance companies, pharmacies, and distributors.

Experts say that kind of pricing just leads to higher premiums for everyone, even if those of us who don't use the product.

We believe profit is a good thing, but price gouging on life-saving drugs, especially ones needed by children is wrong.

Currently, there are not many options to the EpiPen brand, but this radical price hike seems like a great opportunity for a shrewd drug maker to come into the market with a lower priced product and inject some real competition into the EpiPen business.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
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Columbus, GA 31906

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