Auto-injectors like the EpiPen

Delaware House passes bill to make EpiPens more affordable

Sam HautGovernment, Headlines

Auto-injectors like the EpiPen

A House bill will require Delaware insurers to make auto-injectors like the EpiPen available in their lowest tier of drugs.

The Delaware House unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday that would require Delaware insurance plans to cover epinephrine auto-injectors for everyone.

Today in Delaware, epinephrine is only guaranteed to people 18 years or younger.

If House Bill 54 passes the Senate, all Delawareans would be guaranteed at least one injector in the lowest tier of their insurance.

The bill would not take effect until 2024. There is no fiscal note attached to the bill.

HB 24  is sponsored by Rep. Kimberly Williams, D-Stanton, along with 19 other sponsors, 18 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown.

The bill follows 2021’s House Bill 95, also sponsored by Williams, which established epinephrine coverage for those 18 years and younger.

Following passage of HB 54, Williams said in a press release that epinephrine shouldn’t cost as much as it does.

The drug is used to counteract allergic relations, which kill people by closing airways and making their tongues swell, among other symptoms.

EpiPens became expensive

“We have seen how much drug prices have gone up in recent years, forcing many of our constituents to make unthinkable decisions about whether they can afford this life-saving drug,” Williams said. “It costs less than a Capriotti’s bobbie to manufacture an EpiPen, but a two-pack of EpiPens can cost more than a car payment.”

Sen. Sarah McBride, D-Wilmington, said in the release that EpiPens are the only medication that will save the life of a person suffering from anaphylaxis, but they are among the most expensive medications on the market.

“No one who is at risk of a severe allergic reaction should forgo carrying an Epi-pen simply because they are too expensive,” she said.

The cost of epinephrine has increased dramatically in the last decade, from $106 in November 2004 to $608 in May 2016.

After the rights to EpiPen’s were purchased by Mylan in 2007, that company dramatically raised prices, even though the core cost of the pen’s components are about $34.

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Delaware isn’t the only place to try to make medication more affordable.

As part of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare will put a $35 cap on the price of insulin.

This prompted insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk to announce they are slashing the price of their insulin by 70% and 75% respectively.

Colorado also is considering a bill that would cap the price for two epinephrine injectors at $60 for an out-of-pocket copay.

HB 54 will now move to the Senate for a committee hearing.

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