Not since Martin Shkreli has there been such outrage over the spiking costs of a life-saving device or drug. Mylan, the maker of the EpiPen, has bumped up costs by almost 500% over the past few years, and because the drugmaker enjoys a near-monopoly on the epinephrine-delivering device—the AP notes the EpiPen patent doesn't expire until 2025—many people who rely on it to combat severe allergic reactions have been forced to pay the full hefty cost (around $600 for a two-pack) to stay safe. Unless they purchase what's the only commercially available option on the market so far, per the Washington Post: the Adrenaclick, a generic version of the EpiPen that Consumer Reports says it found at Walmart and Sam's Club for a relatively reasonable $140 and change, with a coupon. Like the EpiPen, this device releases epinephrine, and in the same exact dosages.
But there's a problem: Most people—including teachers and nurses—know how to work EpiPens, and the technology on the Adrenaclick is different, which could lead to people using them incorrectly or moving too slowly during an emergency situation, potentially leading to injuries. In fact, an American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology study found that people prescribed epinephrine who don't use it for at least three months risk losing their injection skills and need retraining. Another cheaper option: homemade delivery systems made from syringes that people fill with epinephrine themselves. But that could prove even more risky than the generic device, experts say, per Consumer Reports: While the Adrenaclick at least houses the same dosages of the drug, people filling their own syringes could put in too little or too much, adding another complication on top of the training issue. (While EpiPen costs went up, so did the salaries of top Mylan execs.)