I bet Robert J. Gordon doesn’t consider the EpiPen a “great invention”.
Well, the simple fact that it has been saving lives for the past 30 years or so, speaks for itself. Gordon’s argument in his novel, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, is that today’s “developments in information and communication technology don’t measure up to past achievements.” I would argue that without past achievements we wouldn’t be able to make the advancements that we are making today. Gordon’s argument is flawed, in that it doesn’t cover all its bases. The medical technology we have today, and the research that is continuously being done to improve it, is saving lives. I don’t think Gordon took into account the small tangible objects, such as the EpiPen, that have immeasurable impacts.
Through autoinjector technology, an EpiPen injects proper doses of epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis, otherwise known as a severe allergic reaction. The epinephrine reverses symptoms, such as hives, swelling, and low blood pressure, caused by allergens.
To this day, it has been common for people of all ages to carry an EpiPen on them at all times if they have any severe allergies. There are other ways to administer epinephrine, however, immediate access and self-sufficiency has reduced the risk of fatalities.
The future of the EpiPen is now up in the air. In the past few months, the device and its source, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, has drawn a lot of attention due to its increase in price. A pack of two EpiPens now cost $608, making it rather difficult for the average consumer to afford. Mylan is now facing a lawsuit as a result of its lethal decision.
The hope is that the EpiPen will make it onto the federal preventive list. In other words, anyone “could obtain the medication with no direct cost, regardless of its retail price.” Why wouldn’t the US Preventive Services Task Force agree to that? I don’t see a disadvantage associated with it if the advantage is that it will prevent fatal allergic reactions.
Mylan could keep increasing the price as long as patients get what they need. As Rachel E. Sachs said for the Globe, Mylan’s increase in price is “a self-serving move, not a public-regarding one.” I don’t think Mylan wants to be held responsible for any deaths but it is not at all surprising that a pharmaceutical company is increasing prices in 2016.