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Elk Grove Citizen

Matsui and Frost Introduce Legislation to Lower the Cost of EpiPens

Jan 23, 2024 02:29PM ● By Office of Rep. Doris Matsui News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MPG) - Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-07) and Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10) introduced the Epinephrine’s Pharma Inflated Price Ends Now Act (EPIPEN Act), legislation that would cap the out-of-pocket costs of epinephrine auto-injectors at just $60 per pack of two. Epinephrine auto-injectors, like EpiPens, are used to treat severe allergic reactions. This cap would apply to individuals with private health insurance.

The EPIPEN Act comes as the prices of auto-injectors have skyrocketed, with even generics becoming prohibitively expensive. EpiPen’s manufacturer increased the price of the life-saving device from under $100 to over $600 in the past decade—squeezing working-class Americans and families.

As costs have exploded, several states have acted to cap prices, but federal legislation is still needed to lower costs nationwide. The EPIPEN Act can save families over 90% on the cost of the device, and for those paying more than $650 per year, $13,000 in savings from the time a child is old enough to use the device to the time they transition off their parents’ insurance at 26 years old.

“Families with children with allergies should not have to choose between ensuring their children’s safety and paying for rent and groceries,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Parents should be able to rest assured knowing their children have access to lifesaving epinephrine no matter where they are—and this access starts with affordability. That’s why I’m pleased to introduce the EPIPEN Act with Congressman Frost. This crucial legislation would save people money and increase the number of those with allergies who can afford to carry epinephrine auto-injectors. Both Congressman Frost and I know how severe allergies can impact our lives and families, and this important bill would help patients and families throughout the country to prioritize their children’s safety.”

“As someone who has suffered a life-threatening allergic reaction, I know first-hand just how critical it is to have access to an EpiPen or an auto-injector when your body needs it most. But right now, we have a problem in America where people who need EpiPens aren't carrying them simply because of the cost,” said Congressman Frost. “Our office has heard from countless working folks who either carry expired auto-injectors or simply don’t carry one despite their severe allergies because they can’t afford it. It’s time the federal government looked out for working families and capped these prices. Our EPIPEN Act can save some parents $13,000 over the course of a child’s life. This bill would make all the difference in ensuring that the decision to carry the medicine we need to stay alive isn’t a difficult one.”

The legislation has been endorsed by leading allergy organizations including Allergy and Asthma Network, Allergy Strong, American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, Doctors for America, and Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE); as well as organizations impacted by the rising costs of auto-injectors including the American Federation of Teachers, Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, and MomsRising.

“The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology applauds the intent of this bill in requiring health plans to cover self-administered epinephrine for anaphylaxis while protecting patients from overly burdensome cost-sharing for their life-saving medication,” said Todd Mahr, MD, Executive Medical Director, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

“On behalf of the more than 33 million Americans with potentially life-threatening food allergies who rely on epinephrine auto-injectors to stay alive, FARE is grateful for Representative Frost and Representative Matsui’s leadership in introducing legislation that would cap the costs our community pays for their epinephrine auto-injectors,” said Sung Poblete, PhD, RN, CEO of FARE. “We proudly endorse this bill, will support it on Capitol Hill, and encourage other U.S. House members to cosponsor this critical legislation.”