Health & Wellness

EpiPen Prices Continue to Soar; Two Morristown Moms Voice Frustration Over Price Gouging

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Credits: Leigh Guerriero
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MORRISTOWN, NJ - On Tuesday, August 23 local Morristown mom, Leigh Guerriero took to Facebook to voice her frustrations over the continuous price increase of the EpiPen. For many Americans, the EpiPen is a life saving medication.

"My daughter Ava needs this medicine in case something happens and she comes in contact with a peanut or tree nut", wrote Guerriero on social media. "Over the past few years it was $50. Then it was $100. Now it's $500. I can not afford to get a medicine that my daughter needs".

Guerriero isn't alone. 

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Actress Sarah Jessica Parker cut ties with Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPen due to the increased cost. In a statement on Instagram, Parker wrote "I recently learned that the price of the EpiPen has been systematically raised by Mylan to a point that renders the medication cost-prohibitive for countless people. I'm left disappointed, saddened and deeply concerned by Mylan's actions. I do not condone this decision and I have ended my relationship with Mylan as a direct result of it". 

Maureen Carlin, of Morristown, wrote a letter to Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen to express her frustration with the EpiPen prices. In a written response, Congressman Frelinghuysen stated that he shares her concern about increased costs of prescription drugs, including EpiPens.

"I believe that we must work to provide better access to such devices and medication", Frelinghuysen wrote in his response to Carlin.

Carlin hopes Congress will step in to regulate the medication. "This is a lifesaving device. I don't see how they {the drug company} can do it in good conscience."

Carlin's 12 year old son was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy only two years ago.

"I bring an EpiPen to hockey, have two in my purse, and the school needs one too", said Carlin. "It's a lot of anxiety for the parent every time the person with the allergy goes somewhere". 

In a statement, the company announced that it will take immediate action to further enhance access to EpiPen by expanding already existing programs in recognition of those patients who are facing the burden of higher out-of-pocket costs.  The cost of the EpiPen Auto Injector, will be reduced through the use of a savings card which will cover up to $300 for their EpiPen 2 Pak, the company stated.

 "We have been a long-term, committed partner to the allergy community and are taking immediate action to help ensure that everyone who needs an EpiPen Auto-Injector gets one", Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said in the statement. "We recognize the significant burden on patients from continued, rising insurance premiums and being forced increasingly to pay the full list price for medicines at the pharmacy counter. Patients deserve increased price transparency and affordable care, particularly as the system shifts significant costs to them. However, price is only one part of the problem that we are addressing with today's actions. All involved must also take steps to help meaningfully address the U.S. healthcare crisis, and we are committed to do our part to drive change in collaboration with policymakers, payors, patients and healthcare professionals."

According to Guerriero, the reduction may not be enough. She also needs multiple EpiPens for her daughter; one for school which is mandatory, one for her home and one for her dad's home. 

"I am aware of the reduction of price, but that is still expensive. Last year I paid $100. I need multiple pens and insurance only provides one box at a time. I'm a single mom and it's still expensive. Thankfully I have never had to use one, but I still need to have it".

"Having an EpiPen is critical", said Carlin. "If you can't afford it, you're gambling with your child's life".

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