EpiPen Increases Creates Fear Among Presentation Students


Madeline Whitney, A&E Editor


Most students at Presentation carry about $20 with them to school, but imagine you have to carry $300 with you at all times just to save your life.

You would constantly worry about losing it, or using it all up and having to get more. This is the reality for many Presentation students who rely on an EpiPen to counteract their allergy attacks.

An EpiPen is a branded injector of epinephrine used by people when they go into anaphylactic shock caused by food allergies or a bee sting.

The EpiPen itself is produced by the company Mylan, which decided over the course of the last few years  to increase the price of this life saving device by 400%–or to $600 for an EpiPen two-pack.

This stark increase means that many people can’t afford the medicine they need, putting their lives in danger every day.

The CEO of Mylan, Heather Bresch, was recently called in front of Congress to discuss the reasoning behind the price increase.

She argued that Mylan only makes $100 per pen with the increase, after marketing and production. However, many critics have pointed out that the price increase was accompanied by a  600% increase in Bresch’s salary over this same time period.

In addition, during this hearing, it was revealed that Bresch had never witnessed a person in anaphylactic shock. Many speculated on how she could justify this price increase without knowing the true need of many of the customers who use EpiPens to save their lives.

Many Presentation students are fortunate enough to have their EpiPens covered by their insurance, but that does not mean they are not concerned about their or others’ future relationships with their allergy.

“I think they have a moral obligation to charge a fair price and not monopolize on the EpiPen market,” said senior Grace Bernal. “It is a really crooked way to charge more for something that can save people’s lives and make it less accessible for them.”

The reality of this life saving device is not lost on many Presentation students and faculty who know the necessity of it from their own experiences.

Campus Minister Annalora Calin remembers her own experiences using an EpiPen to comment on the unjustness of the increase.

“It’s a life saving medication,” said Calin, “It’s not like it’s something cosmetic to help their wrinkles. It’s not something they could choose.”

In addition to worrying about their own future life with their allergies, many Presentation students and faculty worry about their family and friends who can no longer afford to carry more than one EpiPen.

Calin recalled talking to parents of her daughter’s friends and learning about their hesitations to use the EpiPen if they are not certain it is an immediate emergency.

This is a huge dilemma for many parents who do not want their child to experience unnecessary traumatic events or lose $300 for no reason.

Everyone interviewed for this article seemed worried for the future of their own and their families’ relationships with allergies and perplexed by the need for such high pricing.

Junior Gillian Pereira, who carries an EpiPen, expressed disgust at the Mylan CEO’s behavior, “[Bresch] knows that some people are going to die from this.”

Bresch stands by her decision of the price increase and refused to bring down the price despite calls to do so from Congress and even Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Mylan is looking into developing a generic branded EpiPen to be marketed for half the price of the branded one. However, for now the price of EpiPens will continue to be exorbitantly high, affecting thousands around the world and in our own Presentation community.