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originally posted by: schuyler
The FDA just approved a generic epipen that circumvents the rip off artists that raised the price to unsustainable levels.
originally posted by: DigginFoTroof
I was listening to NPR and some other news stations about the increase of various "life saving" medications which have increased in price anywhere from 400% to 6,000%+ over the last few years, and the main ones they were talking about are Narcan (for opiate overdose) and Norepinephrine (Epi-pen). The thing is that the medication formulation of these products hasn't changed since they came out, but the main difference is the mode of administration. With the Narcan, it is a pre-measured, single use nasal inhaler much like what you would use with a product like "Afrin" (the nasal decongestant) - it just sprays a mist into the nose. The Epi-pen is a pre-loaded single use auto-injector - it's like a syringe that injects the medicine when it is jabbed into the leg, or wherever. The thing is that each of these use the same dose and basically the same route of administration as years before, but the difference is that they have made slight changes to the application device which the manufacturers claim makes it "easier" to use.
Well when a single dose of Narcan used to cost $10-20 with a standard syringe, glass ampule and an aspirator end (instead of a needle) and now some sell these for almost $6,000 per unit, that is a major difference in price. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that the governement (local EMS) pays for this, along with insurance??
Norepinephrine/adrenaline, also used to be about the same price for a small vial/ampule with a syringe much like what a diabetic uses. The syringe could be pre-loaded with the medicine so if it was needed in an emergency, it was ready to go, or it could be loaded at that time in about 5-20 seconds (depending upon how "skilled" one is in it).
Now I just can't see how any insurance company can cover these outrageous costs, and when I hear about them pushing for Narcan to become common place (in every school, and even classrooms, in households, businesses, etc) it seems like there is a little bit of greed behind this.
I can't imaging how an EMS company, police or emergncy responders can justify ordering the "new product" when the old stuff works just as well, and it can be used by the professionals in just about the same time as it does to unwrap the packaging for the Narcan (yes, it takes about the same time!)
The reason that these prices have gone up isn't because the medicine is still in patent, it is because the administration device is in patent. Once these current patents on the applicator run up, they will come out with a slight change, to keep the patent alive (although a different patent number) and keep the price the same, if not raise it.
I'm curious if anyone has had to deal with either of these products and can tell me if there is a reason why the expensive products are better than the less expensive ones. If an "addict" has a pre-loaded syringe with Narcan with a nasal aspirator on the end in his house, is that product any less effective than the new $6,000 product? Same with the Epi-pen. A pre-loaded syringe, ready to jab, for about $20 vs a $2,200 epi-pen, are they going to be cured better with the more expensive product?
In both cases we are talking about administering anywhere from .4ml to 2ml of solution, which should take about 2-4 seconds (at a SLOW pace). I only see greed an profit motivation behind these new "inventions" and a fleecing of the public's tax dollars. Please, EMS and medical professionals, please tell me if this is incorrect, or if there are actual benefits that support this extra gouging of our $$.