EpiPens cost 400 percent more and Klobuchar wants an explanation

The cost of EpiPens has gone up 400 percent since 2009, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar has said the "outrageous price increases" need to be "investigated and stopped."
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The cost of EpiPens has gone up 400 percent since 2009, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar has said the "outrageous price increases" need to be "investigated and stopped."

An EpiPen is a shot people can administer themselves if they have a life-threatening allergic reaction like anaphylactic shock.

According to the senator's news release, a pack of two pens cost about $100 in 2009. Now that same pack costs $500 to $600.

Klobuchar said this increase comes as Mylan Pharmaceutical – which owns the special auto injector that makes EpiPens easy to use – became a monopoly in the market.

There used to be other similar products on the market, but one was recalled and another didn't get FDA approved.

According to Forbes and Consumer Reports, there is another generic option called Adrenaclick. It works a bit differently than the EpiPen but ultimately does the same thing with the same drug.

"Mylan Pharmaceutical is exploiting a monopoly market advantage that has fallen into its lap,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

So the senator is calling for a Judiciary Hearing on the matter as well as an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission to see if any laws have been violated, according to a Facebook post.

Then she wants the Commission to explain to Congress why prices have skyrocketed and suggest a solution. Klobuchar asks that it be done within 90 days.

The Washington Post says Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, has also spoken out on the issue. So has Bernie Sanders.

https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/766263360933466112

Why is it so expensive?

According to Forbes, the epinephrine itself isn't what's expensive – and the drug is the most important part.

What's pricey – or at least raises the costs – is the auto injector pen which only one company has the rights to.

So basically, you're paying for a system to perfectly calibrate $1 worth of epinephrine.

Forbes says there are other ways to inject the medication, like a syringe. However, it might not be as safe because the dosage isn't calibrated. Also, injecting into a vein – as opposed to muscle, like you do with an EpiPen – is more dangerous.

Additionally, a syringe full of epinephrine goes bad after about three months, according to Consumer Reports. An EpiPen lasts about a year.

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