Local medical professionals concerned EpiPen price hike could cause patients suffering from deadly allergies to go without

Courtesy: MGN
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BISMARCK, N.D. - EpiPens are used by millions of Americans who can suffer from deadly allergic reactions but now because of a price hike, the EpiPens could be out of reach for many.

The company that makes the pens has marked up the price of them more than 400 percent over the last eight years.

When kids or adults have a severe allergic reaction the first thing they reach for is probably an EpiPen but because of price these could be taken away.

"It's literally lifesaving. If somebody has a food reaction and they ingest the food they're allergic to, EpiPen is the first thing they should go for," says Jonathan Rodrigues, Sanford Health.

In 2006 the pens were just under $100. Now in 2016 they're six times that price.

Medical professionals say they're concerned that some people could go without them.

"Be that they don't get them replaced as soon as they should. The recommendation is to replace them once a year because of how they're stored and carried. So they may keep a product longer because of the price they may not be as effective," says Keith Horner, CHI St. Alexius.

Senators from across the country including North Dakota U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the price hike.

"No family should have to choose between sending a child to school with a lifesaving EpiPen and putting food on the table," says Heitkamp.

Mylan has announced that it will not lower the price but instead provide a savings card to commercially insured patients who pay full price.

"This savings card is equivalent to cash, $300. So effectively we're cutting the price in half, but we're letting you take control of that," says Heather Bresch, Mylan.

Bresch also added that this new savings card can allow anyone who needs an EpiPen to get one.

Medical experts say there are alternatives to the EpiPen but the delivery system and the way the EpiPen works makes it best for non-medical professionals.