LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — For someone with an allergy, an EpiPen, an injectable form of epinephrine to theat anaphylaxis, can mean the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, the auto-injectors have become increasingly expensive, even for people with insurance.
Dylan Frazier, 9, has severe food allergies. Every bite he takes needs to be watched closely.READ MORE: Mother of Three Murdered Children in Reseda is in Custody as Police Continue Investigation
“If we didn’t have an EpiPen with us, and he has a reaction, it could be deathly for him,” said mom Kristen Frazier.
She makes sure an EpiPen is always near Dylan: in his backpack, his classroom and the cafeteria. “I carry one. My husband carries one. We have one in our sports bag,” Frazier said.
EpiPens can quickly reverse an allergic reaction. They are an absolute must for allergy patients.
But the costs of EpiPens have soared drastically. A twin pack has jumped from around $60 to more than $400 over the past 10 years.
“It’s a bigger issue across most medications in general now,” said Todd Brown, who teaches at the School of Pharmacy at Northeastern University.
“Pharmaceutical companies have really changed the way they price medications. It used to be related to the impact of the medication,” Brown said. “Now, it’s really changed to essentially how much they can get for a medication.”READ MORE: City Of Los Angeles Expanding Vaccine Eligibility To Residents 16 And Older Tuesday
But the high prices of Epipen are only in the United States. Those same EpiPens, which cost about $400 in America, cost $85 in France.
Congressman Michael Capuano said there is no federal regulation on how high drug prices can go.
“We have prohibited the government from negotiating prices with drug producers, by law, which is a crazy thing to have done,” said Capuano.
Physician Mark Dematteo, who works in the emergency room at Beth Israel Deaconess Plymouth, is concerned some families may be forced to cut back.
“These events can progress at a very rapid pace, sometimes as quickly as 20 minutes. Under those circumstances, having an EpiPen will be absolutely lifesaving,” Dematteo said.
Frazier knows she is lucky her insurance covers a majority of her son’s EpiPens. But still, her co-pays are not low.
In a statement, the manufacturer of EpiPens told CBS2, they offer financial help to families who qualify and have provided free devices to more than 60,000 schools.MORE NEWS: BAFTA Awards 2021: Chloé Zhao Wins Best Director, 'Nomadland' Wins Best Picture
“It’s important to note that Mylan does not set the final retail cost of its products charged to patients as this is determined by the insurance coverage of the patient. One would have to look across the many parties that constitute the distribution channel as they all play a role in the ultimate access and price of prescription drugs in the marketplace,” according to Mylan, maker of EpiPen.