PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s a life saver — the drug epinephrine — administered through an EpiPen.
“She started going into anaphylactic shock. Her lips turned blue. She started swelling. She wasn’t able to breathe,” recalled Lexi Henninger.
Henninger’s young daughter nearly died from a food allergy.
An EpiPen saved her life, but the price has jumped from $100 for a two-pack seven years ago to over $600 today — all for a drug that costs about $1 to $2 per dose to make.
“I’m very concerned about the price increases on this,” U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Rep. Murphy chairs an investigations subcommittee and has asked his investigators to get the facts about the price hike.
“What we’re focused here on is getting this so it’s affordable and accessible, not only within schools and public areas, but also for those families that need to have this handy,” adds Rep. Murphy.
The EpiPen is manufactured by Mylan, with its American headquarters right in this region at Southpointe.
In 2007, Mylan acquired the rights to the EpiPen from Merck, and shortly thereafter, its CEO Heather Bresch began the dramatic price rise of this life-saving medicine to consumers.
Bresch is the daughter of West Virginia’s U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, and her business degree from West Virginia University was rescinded amidst charges she never completed the required course work.
But that has not affected her work as Mylan’s CEO, where her pay has gone up 700 percent over eight years.
Mylan defends its EpiPen price hikes, saying health insurance should cover the costs, but adding, “An increasing number of people and families have enrolled in high deductible health plans, and deductible amounts continue to rise. This current and ongoing shift has presented new challenges for consumers, and now they are bearing more of the cost.”
No surprise — the controversy is attracting congressional attention.