Escalating prices could create life and death access issues

AUSTIN – “Texas pharmacists are very concerned and disappointed with the impact on patients that has been created by the rising cost of EpiPens – a life-saving epinephrine medication,” said Rene Garza, Pharm.D., president of the Texas Pharmacy Association (TPA) and owner of Stonegate Pharmacy in Austin.  “As a pharmacist, I often hear the frustration from patients about the high cost of their medications like what has happened with Mylan’s EpiPen.  Unfortunately, manufacturer-driven price increases such as this is becoming all too common and unacceptable!”

With a continuing focus on saving lives and increasing access to this life saving medication, the TPA worked to pass legislation that authorized pharmacist to administer an epinephrine auto-injector without a prescription when a patient is in a related emergency condition.  The passage of the bill dramatically expanded access to this life-saving medication by making the treatment accessible in every Texas pharmacy.  TPA believe so much in the importance of expanding access to this medication that pharmacists now offer this service to the public at no cost beyond the price of the product.

With only one epinephrine auto-injector product currently available in the United States, Mylan has a monopoly on a patient’s ability to access this medication in a simple to use version.  “Epinephrine in an EpiPen is not a product that people have the choice to purchase or not purchase,” said TPA Division Director, Public Affairs Justin Hudman. “If you suffer from severe allergies, having immediate access to this product can truly be the difference between life and death.”

The dramatic price increase taking place will not only impact patients and their families, but will be problematic to school districts, first responders, local governments and insurance companies who are forced to grapple with affording the medication.  Another change in Texas law requires that Texas public and open-enrollment charter schools have unassigned epinephrine auto-injectors available on campus and at school events.

TPA believes that it is critical for Congress to address the rising costs in medications by holding formal hearings regarding the dramatic price increases in medications such as those seen with EpiPens………………..