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Megan McArdle

Competition Works Best to Control Drug Prices

Better markets, not more regulation, is the answer to the EpiPen problem.


Photographer: LUCAS TRIEB/AFP/Getty Images

If you haven’t heard about EpiPen’s unconscionable price increases, you have probably been in an ashram. The price of these life-saving medical devices, which are used to quell potentially fatal allergic reactions, has quintupled over the last few years. The price increases have not come because the devices have gotten more expensive to make. Adrenaline, the main component of the EpiPen, is cheap, and the devices, while tricky to make, have been produced for quite a long time and do not involve some ultra-rare mineral or space-shuttle-quality precision engineering. They have not come because Mylan, the manufacturer, suddenly needs to get back all the money it spent on research and development. No, the company has increased the prices simply because it can.

QuickTake Drug Prices