Regulations and Bureaucracy Boosted EpiPen Prices

September 21, 2016

by Devon M. Herrick, Ph.D.

Chairman Chaffetz and Members of the Committee, I am Devon Herrick, a health economist and senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to empowering Americans by advancing liberty through free market solutions. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my views.

People with severe allergies and asthma often carry an epinephrine auto-injector with them or have one readily available at all times. The most common model by far is the EpiPen, sold by drug maker Mylan. It enjoys an 85 percent market share. The price of the EpiPen has increased by more than 400 percent in less than a decade. 

Mylan bought the rights to the nearly 30-year old EpiPen in 2007. At the time one EpiPen sold for about $57. By August 2016, Mylan had raised the price of each EpiPen to more than $304. As health plan deductibles steadily rose over the past 10 years, families increasingly had to bear more of the cost out of pocket. Higher cost-sharing made it more difficult for Mylan to mask its price increases. This is an example of why it important to use cost-sharing to enlist consumers in the battle to control drug spending. Without consumers complaining about their share of the cost, there would be little public outcry to stop many of the more egregious price hikes.

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