Let’s Not Forget Why EpiPen Prices Catapulted In 2016

On Monday, during a meeting with tech CEOs, President Trump reportedly proclaimed the Senate health care bill needs “more heart.” By “more heart,” he presumably means more subsidies and money injected into the American health care market on behalf of the federal government; a silly proposal.

Though unconfirmed, this report should be viewed as both plausible and concerning to conservatives. I have no doubt that Trump said this given his former unjust praising of single-payer health insurance systems utilized by foreign nations. It’s unjust because a single-payer structure, while unfortunately a likely outcome in the future, simply isn’t feasible.In light of the Senate’s secrecy in drafting their

In light of the Senate’s secrecy in drafting their version of the health care bill and President Trump’s longing for greater government subsidies, I think it’s worth remembering why exactly something like the EpiPen’s prices increased dramatically in August of last year. Here’s a hint: it wasn’t because of capitalism and free markets — it was the exact opposite.

The fact is the EpiPen price hike from approximately $50 to $500 was a product of government interventionism and Obamacare. Yes, Obamacare.

EpiPen, a product of famed pharmaceutical company Mylan, had very little competition. So little that they were able to jack the prices up exuberantly after lobbying for said lack of competition. The government via the FDA was able to tamper down virtually all other products that posed a threat to the EpiPen’s market share. Take a look at Europe. Not exactly a place known for fantastic health care systems, however, their governments allowed for eight EpiPen alternatives, all competing for the customer by providing lower prices and increased quality; a staple of free market success. In the United States at the time, there was only one product to successfully find its way through the FDA’s regulations: Andrenaclick. However, according to Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex, “EpiPens are protected from this substitution. If a doctor writes a prescription for “EpiPen,” the pharmacist must give an EpiPen-brand EpiPen, not an Adrenaclick-brand EpiPen. This is apparently so that children who have learned how to use an EpiPen don’t have to relearn how to use an entirely different device (hint: jam the pointy end into your body).”

Now, let’s move onto Obamacare’s role in the EpiPen price hike. Historically, insurance covered the cost of the EpiPen, be it increased or decreased. The consumer, the one with the health insurance, was unaware and unaffected thanks to said insurance. Obamacare has been the reason many families are being forced to pay significantly higher premiums or have lost health insurance. When one loses his or her insurance that previously covered the cost of prospective price hikes, one would have to pay out of pocket in order to cover those hikes — no matter what the cost is.

EpiPen should not have raised the prices in a monopolistic fashion, and the federal government shouldn’t have obliged their requests for fewer competitors. Less government, not more is the answer in situations like this. In fact, it is the solution to our country’s health care calamity as a whole.

Greg Matusow

Author: Greg Matusow

Greg Matusow is a conservative writer and founder of Matusow.net