Here's a little glimpse into why Mylan might have felt empowered to raise EpiPen prices so much, and so often. A study of more than 76,000 prescriptions recorded on the athenahealth network shows that over the past four years, prescriptions for the device have been steadily rising, with significant spikes every August.
Given the patient demographics of EpiPen use — 70 percent of those August prescriptions go to patients 18 and younger — it's likely that these devices are being ordered for potential use in schools. Since there currently are no generic versions of EpiPen and few comparable products on the market, the vast majority of physicians haven't been prescribing alternatives.
EpiPens treat severe allergic reactions and require annual refills. It seems many parents feel they have little choice but to pay the rising prices, or hope their insurance companies absorb the burden.
Data analysis by Anna Zink, based on prescriptions written to over 48,000 patients by more than 1,100 doctors who have prescribed EpiPen at least once and have used athenaClinicals since 2013.