A growing chorus is calling on the Mylan pharmaceutical company to justify its price hikes on EpiPens, a potentially life-saving medication for children and others facing fatal allergies that has little real competition.
In 2007, a two-pack of the epinephrine-filled devices went for $56.64 wholesale, according to data gathered by Connecture, a health insurance technology and data analytics company. Now it's jumped to $365.16, an increase of 544.77 percent. Since the end of 2013, the price has gone up by 15 percent every other quarter.
Doctors, parents, patients, and a former presidential candidate are speaking out on social media — and negative comments are filling up Mylan's Facebook page following an NBCNEWS.com story Wednesday.
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And now, the Senator who allowed pushed for emergency epinephrine to be stocked in public schools has pledged to investigate the price increases.
At least one in 50 Americans has experienced anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
"You are forcing many families to gamble with their children's lives, when your costs haven't gone up," wrote one Facebook post. Others questioned why the prices in the U.S. were higher than other countries for the same medicine.
"Amazing that Epipen prices in CA & EU with prescription are about $85. No govt negotiated buy in US," said another tweet.
Even Martin Shkreli, the disgraced former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC, has weighed in.
"These guys are really vultures. What drives this company's moral compass?" he told NBC News in a phone interview.
In 2015, Shkreli famously jacked up the price of Turing's malaria and HIV medicine Darapim overnight, from $13.50 to $750, a move that earned him a grilling by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February — and the nickname "Pharma Bro" for his seemingly carefree attitude toward affordable medication.
But Shkreli told NBC News he had originally considered gradually raising the price of Darapim, as Mylan did with the EpiPen. Ultimately, "the math, we felt, was a little silly; so we decided to come out and say 'This is our desired price.'"
The House committee doesn't currently have an open investigation into the price of EpiPens, MJ Henshaw, a spokesperson for the committee chair Representative Jason Chaffetz, said in an email.
In response to NBC's story earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders sent out a tweet questioning the price increase.
There's a lawsuit in the works as well. Ari Kresch, CEO of 1-800-LAW-FIRM, said his firm was finalizing a filing against Mylan in the next couple of weeks.
"I've been looking at EpiPen for years," said Kresch. "It's a very cheap drug but I haven't been successful in getting any experts to tell me why the price has gone up as much as it has."
Mylan did not respond to phone or email messages seeking comment on the backlash.
In an earlier emailed statement, Mylan said its prices have "changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides," and that "we've made a significant investment to support the device over the past years."
The statement noted that commercially insured patients have successfully used its $100 coupon program, with nearly 80 percent of the My EpiPen Savings Card™ getting their auto-injectors for $0.