When it comes to allergic reactions, for some, an epi-pen can mean the difference between life or death. But, now, Mylan, the drug company that distributes those life-saving shots has jacked up the price more than 400-percent.
Three-year-old Olivia does things a typical kid her age does, like, plays with her ponies. Her mom has to watch everything Olivia eats she learned that two years ago on a ride home.
“She ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She had peanuts before nothing happened, but by the time she got home she had hives basically from the neck down,” Julie Zweig, Olivia’s mother, said.
Olivia is allergic to peanut butter, cashews, hazelnuts, and goat's milk. She can't even eat something that's been around those types of nuts.
She hasn't had to use one yet, but an EpiPen can be a life-saving drug if Olivia were to have a severe allergic reaction. They were lucky it was just hives the first time, and not anaphylaxis.
“It causes a very intense inflammatory cascade of events that cause swelling in the throat, lungs to constrict,” said Dr. Ashley Maltz, Integrated Medicine Physician.
Zweig would normally keep three EpiPens, one on her, one at Olivia's school and one at home for the babysitter. Right now she has zero.
“If it's $600 each that would be for me $1,800 dollars,” said Zweig.
A two pack used to be $100 in 2008, now that's gone up to $600.
“If something is going to save somebody's life it just doesn't feel right that somebody would make it so that they can't have that. Zweig says her insurance wouldn't help much either.
“You would think you’d just have a $30 co-pay. From my experience they really don't cover that much of those drugs,” said Zweig.
Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that sells the medicine did not answer our calls, however on their website they say:
"This new change to the industry is not an easy challenge to address, but we recognize the need and are committed to working with customers and payors to find solutions to meet the needs of the patients and families we serve." –Mylan.
As for Olivia and her mom, they hope they'll never need to use the EpiPen because right now it's just too expensive.
Mylan in their own defense also said on their website they have a savings card and a patient assistance program that some can qualify for.