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Politicians & patients alike seek answers about EpiPen price increase

WLWT News Video Transcript 

It’s a life-saving tool in the event of an allergic reaction.

“So, hives all over, severe breathing problems, really bad nausea/vomiting. Epinephrine. And then afterwards you call 911 because there’s a risk of having a delayed reaction.”

Dr. Ashish Mathur says allergies are becoming more common every day in the US. Nearly 5% of Americans have a food allergy, while 3% are allergic to insects. Mathur says for many a severe reaction could be deadly and that’s why access to the EpiPen auto injector is crucial for adults and children who may need several EpiPens to fit their needs.

“If they aren’t comfortable giving it to themselves and, you know, Mom has one in her house if they are divorced, Dad has one, the school, the babysitter. Everyone needs to know how to use it.”

Mathur says families and patients have had concerns about the prices of EpiPens and that’s why he says he’s shifting his practice to talk about the generic Epinephrine auto injector along with coupons.

“Every time I prescribe Epinephrine, I give a copay card and we talk about the cost, but I have a conversation with each family and with each patient about, ‘Here’s what the cost is and here are your options.’”

This generic version retails at $400 compared to Mylan’s cost of roughly $600, a 480% price hike from 2009 when the EpiPen auto injector cost just more than $100. Dr. Ashish Mathur says he’d like to see the cost of the medication drop.

“You know, you’ve got 3 or 4 auto injectors everywhere and so that certainly is really costly and not really fair to families to have to pay that much for a life-saving medication.”

Dr. Mathur says to talk to your allergist or doctor about what your options are and shop around for pharmacies with the most affordable option for you. And there are discount and coupon options available so keep that in mind. Natalie Clark, WLWT, News 5.

Report by Natalie Clark, featuring Dr. Ashish Mathur, August 30, 2016