There's A Solution To Being Robbed By The Makers Of EpiPen, And It's Less Than $10

by Christine Burke
Originally Published: 
Image via ABC

Ohio doctor shares an alternative to the EpiPen, and it’s less than $10

In recent weeks, parents of children with allergies have been reeling at the news that EpiPens, made by money hungry drug company Mylan, will now double in price for an auto injector two pack. Mylan announced that the price of the life saving epinephrine delivery system will sky rocket to a nauseating $608, up from $425 just last year. The price increase is causing panic and outrage within the allergy community and even has politicians talking about drug company pricing reform. Many families are now faced with the financial burden of trying to provide necessary, life saving medication to their sick children on their already tight budgets.

But, an Ohio doctor has come up with an ingenious solution to Mylan’s egregious price increase. And it’s less than ten dollars.

Hear that, Mylan? Less than ten dollars.

Dr. Marcus Romanello, Chief Medical Officer and Emergency Medicine Physician at Ft. Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton, Ohio wants parents to know that there is an infinitely cheaper way to provide epinephrine to anyone in anaphylactic shock. All it takes is a six dollar multi-dose vial of epinephrine, a syringe and an Altoids tin.

“The sudden rise in cost is alarming because I worry about parents who are literally having to choose between carrying a life-saving device and putting food on the table,” Dr. Romanello tells ABC News. “I paid $5.89, cash price for this (bottle of epinephrine), no insurance required.”

The medication inside Mylan’s EpiPen auto injector is plain old epinephrine and nothing else (except maybe gold flecks at that price). Epinephrine can be prescribed in multi dose vials much in the same way insulin is prescribed for diabetic patients. A physician can write a prescription for a multi dose vial and syringes for patients who need life saving epinephrine in the event of exposure to an allergen. Patients and parents of patients with severe allergies can be taught to draw up the correct dose of epinephrine (calculated by the doctor based on the patient’s weight) and learn how to administer a shot via syringe. The syringe, epinephrine vial and alcohol swab can be kept neatly in an Altoids tin and kept on hand for emergencies.

This kit is so simple, it’s infuriating that Mylan is getting away with highway robbery.

Parents can keep a preloaded syringe in a safe place (or the Altoids tin) and administer the medication just as fast, if not faster, than the EpiPen. And, since parents are already prepared to give their child an injection with the EpiPen, it’s not a far stretch to grasp how to do it with a syringe. For $10, a lot of parents would be willing to learn. If you are in this position, consulting with your doctor to see if this is a viable option is definitely worth it.

Most school districts have registered nurses or licensed practical nurses who are trained to give shots and it’s not out of their scope of practice to do so with a doctor’s order. School nurses administer insulin to diabetic kids every day with the same type of syringes. And, school districts could save thousands of dollars a year by switching to multi dose vials in their field trip emergency bags. Thousands of dollars that could then be put towards books and supplies for kids in their district.

Slow clap for Dr. Romanello; he not only just saved allergy parents thousands of dollars but also helped give Mylan the giant middle finger they so deserve.

Mylan, for their part, announced that they will be offering a generic version of their EpiPen brand. But, the generic version will still run a whopping $300 for a two pack of the same medication that is available in a multi dose vial for $6. If anything, the doctor is bringing the egregious price increase to the forefront. This life-saving medicine is not expensive.

Go home, Mylan. You’re drunk.

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