Epipens have more than quintupled in price since 2004

Just checked several websites and they sell for 40€ here in France (around $44). Damn…

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[Deleted original comment: Was being snippy because the article ticked me off. Yeah, I hope we can fix it too. Unfortunately, our least insane remaining candidate for President is a corporate sweetheart.]


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$… is why.


You have a 3D printer that does pharmaceuticals?

I also wouldn’t trust the function of today’s consumer 3D printers with life or death tasks like these.

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I like this world you’ve created with a five fold increase in epithets… Better than this shitty one with a five fold increase of life saving devices! Let’s go there!


It shouldn’t be so hard to not die. Really.


I know it’s not the main point of the article, but if autoinjectors are so expensive and difficult to develop, can’t people just keep epinephrine on hand and inject it the normal way?

EDIT: covered in the article


“Not valid for uninsured patients” as well!

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Doesn’t Shapeways have some pretty high-end printers?

More of a pipe dream, I guess, to take some power away from big pharma.

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In the 90s I was using injectable Imitrex for migraine. The manufacturer supplied a free reusable autoinjector. The user just put the pre-filled glass syringe with needle into the device, closed it up, cocked it, pressed it against the skin, and pushed the button. It was so much bulkier that just the syringe itself I eventually gave up and just used the syringe without the autoinjector.


I don’t doubt the desire/necessity/desperation, but I still wouldn’t trust them for rolling your own syringes.

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My friend with an allergy to shellfish shouldn’t have to pay so much more than the rest of us just to go to a restaurant.


Exactly! They shouldn’t!


They’re fools for setting the price before there is immediate need for the product.

“You’ve just been stung by a hornet! NOW how much would you pay!?”


Well, you know, all that research they didn’t pay for gets more and more expensive the further it is in the past.

This argument that prices should be totally unconnected to actual costs first came to prominence with that Shkreli creature, but in fact it has been true in health care for a long time. Most hospitals have difficulty telling you what a procedure actually costs.


Or are there patented aspects of the EpiPen® that are difficult to work around I wonder?

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This is why he was thrown to the wolves. He made transparent what had ben happening all along, being too greedy and too fast to not just slowly ratchet costs up so incrimentally each step is annoying but un noticable compared to the last.


So you mean epic thekth?

For $606, or even $85, I would expect a hand-carved bamboo or soapstone shell, hand-blown glass ampules, sapphire crystal needles and a silk carry-pouch. The picture shows the injector is a chunk of cheap ribbed plastic ka-chunked out of an injection mold every 3 seconds. Does it even cost $6 to manufacture?! And the price shooting up every year instead of going down. Some heads need to ROLL.


I’m not sure: at least in the US, the outfit that is particularly active in autoinjectors appears to be Meridian Medical Technologies. They are a Pfizer subsidiary and while their main line of business is emergency antidote systems for use in military nerve agent exposure situations(first the ‘Nerve Agent Antidote Kit, Mark I’, now the ‘Antidote Treatment Nerve Agent, Auto-Injector’) a look at their patent filings shows multiple instances of them name-checking epi-pens and a wide variety of claims regarding various shapes, sizes, safety caps, and springloaded mechanism variations for autoinjectors.

However, the NAAK Mark 1 is an old enough item that the DoD was able to buy a whole lot of them in the run-up to Desert Storm, against the possibility of Iraq’s chemical weapons not being largely imaginary; so I’d be inclined to suspect that an at-least-adequate autoinjector design from Meridian would have to be off-patent now, since it was a product actively in production and available for sale in the very early '90s at latest. I don’t doubt that they’ve made changes since then, some probably useful some probably cosmetic, which remain under patent; but between their work that is out of patent and any non-infringing variations on the autoinjector concept I’d be pretty surprised if you can’t put one together without hitting any showstopping patents.

What I have no idea about, or even any plausible speculation, is what the holdup is in mating some adequate autoinjector design with the widely available and quite cheap generic epinephrine and getting the result to market. Based on the level of brazen price increases, this clearly is harder than it looks for some reason; but I have no clue why.