Julie Parrett wakes up every morning to get herself and her three children ready for the day. Before leaving home she double checks that she has the one thing that could save her life in the event of an allergic reaction, her EpiPen.
Parrett, who has a serious shellfish allergy, said, “Times are tough, it’s either I get an EpiPen or I feed my children. A lot of times, I won’t purchase one because I can’t afford it.”
Most people with severe allergies consider it vital to have an EpiPen on them at all times. An EpiPen is an all in one shot that requires no measuring and is safe and easy to use. EpiPens contain a medicine called epinephrine that, in the midst of a severe allergic reaction, helps the user regain the ability to breathe. An EpiPen contains 0.3mg of epinephrine, while the EpiPen Jr contains 0.15mg of epinephrine.
With the skyrocketing cost of medications today families are asking themselves if getting an EpiPen is even an option, even those who have severe allergies. Most schools have requirements in place, to maintain a safe atmosphere by not allowing peanuts or any other nut product in contact with students due to prominence of severe nut allergies. However, there is always a chance something could slip through causing an allergic reaction.
“My children like to be outside in the warm months, I end up having to scrape up the money to cover the extra cost so that my daughter is safe. We shouldn’t have to decide between food and medicine,” said Lisa Jackson, whose daughter is severely allergic to bee stings.
The cost of an EpiPen has risen dramatically, up to $500-$600 after insurance. The lifespan of an EpiPen is one year, meaning that those with severe allergies have to repeatedly purchase new ones even if they have not used the previous EpiPen.
“I shouldn’t have to line the pockets of others to ensure my own health,” Jamie Welk said. Even though he has a severe allergy to insect stings, he refuses to purchase an EpiPen due to high prices.
EpiPen maker, Mylan, has been under fire as their CEO, Heather Bresch, has seen her bonus increase from $2.4 million to $18.9 million a year. A 671 percent increase that many say come at the price of others safety. An industry insider has said that it costs no more than $30 to manufacture and produce the EpiPen that injects about one dollar’s worth of medicine into the user.