Mylan says middlemen and suppliers have forced them to jack-up the prices on EpiPens by hundreds of dollars, but two industry insiders say the company pays no more than $30 per device.
Meanwhile, some patients are forced to pay a little over $600 out of pocket for a two-pack of the lifesaving medication. Mylan sparked outrage last month when it was revealed the company had hiked up costs for the drug by over 400 percent since it acquired the brand.
A third expert pegs Mylan's cost even lower, at about $20. Kevin Deane, a partner with the PA Consulting Group, a global technology and design firm that sold a drug delivery technology company to Pfizer in 2004, told NBC News that the base components for each EpiPen, including the plastic cap, tube, and needle, might cost between $2 to $4 to purchase. Pharmacists contacted by NBC estimate that the epinephrine inside costs less than $1.
Additionally, based on industry norms, Mylan would have to pay a licensing fee to companies involved in research and development of the device. This amount might generally multiply the price that Mylan pays Pfizer's wholly owned subsidiary Meridian Medical Technologies, which manufactures the epinephrine auto-injector between two and five times, said Deane.
"What they've been doing is they've been making little updates to it, refinements to make it work better," said Deane. "But it essentially is the same core technology that was there for many years," he said.
In a call with NBC News, Pfizer spokeswoman Rachel Hooper declined to comment on or confirm the pricing arrangement, citing confidential contract agreements, a position echoed by Mylan.
"We do not comment on the terms of third-party contracts," said Mylan company spokeswoman Julie Knell.