Increasing the profit margin of life-saving drugs is unethical

An Epi-Pen style epinephrine auto injector which is the latest version in the USA. Mylan has been bumping the price of the product over the last 7 years.

Wikimedia Commons

An Epi-Pen style epinephrine auto injector which is the latest version in the USA. Mylan has been bumping the price of the product over the last 7 years.

by Justin Su, Sports Editor

Recently, Mylan, the company that produces the EpiPen, has continually increased the price of the potentially life saving drug. The increase in price for the EpiPen started nearly seven years ago, when the price of the drug was around $100, to today’s price of nearly $600.

It is morally corrupt to increase the price of a life-saving drug, especially if the company has a monopoly on that product. Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan, received 19 million dollars after the increase in the price up to 600 dollars. According to TechTimes, the incentive system for top executives at Mylan is the reasoning behind the price increases, as they were encouraged to hit high targets and escalate earnings per share. The price of making of each EpiPen is not even close to the price it is sold at.

According to NBC News, industry insiders estimate that the price of making each EpiPen costs no more than 30 dollars. The major costs of pharmaceutical companies are usually at the research phase, experimenting for new viable drugs. However, Mylan simply purchased the company, rather than coming up with the EpiPen itself, so it is not burdened by those costs which would have made the price hikes more reasonable.

Families of children with severe allergies that would have once been able to afford the drug now have to store and use expired EpiPens in case of an emergency, even though they could not function properly. The price increase is not kind to families that have to choose between putting food on the table and potentially saving their child’s life. Another area that this price increase also affected is schools.

All schools are required to keep non-expired allergy relief medication on hand, forcing them to channel more funds to purchasing medicine rather than funding other programs. We need to value societal health and the safety of the health of our children over profits.

However, EpiPen is not the only choice for professionals, it is just much more consumer- friendly due to its easier and more well known application method. According to the Seattle Times, EMTs in Washington State are starting to use needles and epinephrine, the medication used in EpiPen, which costs only 2.50 a vial. However, because only trained professionals know the correct method and dosage for this way of application, EpiPen, the most well known and trusted household brand, is still the most viable choice for everyday people, making the increase in price so outrageous.

The increase of price of life saving drugs due to a monopoly should definitely be stopped. For now, all the consumers can do is wait for a generic EpiPen style injector, which is due to come out late 2016 when the EpiPen injector patent expires.