The Academy is calling for urgent action to reduce the cost burden of epinephrine auto-injectors for children with food allergies.
Prices for one such device, Mylan’s EpiPen, have skyrocketed in recent years, costing some families $500 or more for a two-pack.
"Urgent solutions are needed,” said AAP President Benard P. Dreyer, M.D., FAAP. "Now is the time for all interested stakeholders — families, doctors, manufacturers, distributors, payers and government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration — to act quickly to alleviate the financial hardships faced by families.
“Every child’s safety is of equal importance, and no parent should have to worry about how to pay for access to life-saving allergy medication for their child,” said Dr. Dreyer.The Academy recommends children with serious food allergies always keep two epinephrine auto-injectors with them.
The Academy recommends children with serious food allergies always keep two epinephrine auto-injectors with them and that they have a supply both at home and school. In 2013, it led efforts to pass legislation encouraging states to require that schools have a supply of epinephrine.
AAP leaders at the Annual Leadership Forum (ALF) this year deemed addressing the cost of epinephrine auto-injectors one of their top 10 resolutions and also approved a resolution asking the Food and Drug Administration why expiration dates for such devices are only about a year. They renewed both of those calls Friday.
The author of both resolutions, Michael J. Welch, M.D., FAAP, FAAAAI, past chair of the AAP Section on Allergy and Immunology, agreed and said pediatricians need to take action.
“The pediatrician has to be the advocate for these patients who are affected by this and there are some things they can do,” he said.
Dr. Welch suggested that pediatricians look for local pharmacies that offer the generic of Adrenaclick, a product that is similar to EpiPens and sometimes cheaper. They also should direct patients to EpiPen manufacturer Mylan’s patient assistance program, and to savings cards for EpiPen and generic Adrenaclick.
In addition, patients may need to look into different health insurance plans with better pharmacy benefits and consider appealing when coverage is denied, Dr. Welch said. Physicians and patients alike also can lend their signature to an online petition protesting the costs.
“The high cost of these devices imposes a significant financial burden on families and places an obstacle in these patients’ access to lifesaving medical care where they live, learn and play,” said Dr. Dreyer. "The AAP will continue to work with Congress and press the Food and Drug Administration to find a way to make the product affordable to the families who need this medicine."