The story of the EpiPen: from military technology to drug-industry cash cow

Reimann, Matt. “The Story of the EpiPen: From Military Technology to Drug-industry Cash Cow.” Timeline. N.p., 24 Aug. 2016. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

This article discusses the creation of the auto-injecting epi pen, a life-saving medical device that allows for on the spot treatment of allergic reactions. This is a great technology that has led to increased safety for individuals susceptible to allergic reactions. However, there has been much controversy lately over the incredible climb in cost the product has seen recently. The calamity arises because the administered drug, epinephrine, has a cost around one dollar, yet the price of an epi pen has skyrocketed to $609 in some extreme cases. Therefore, the ethical issue lies not with the drug itself, but the technology of the needle. The company Mylan, which has a monopoly over the needle, is ironic because the technology was originally developed via public initiative for military use. The fact that Mylan now has restricted domain over this technology is irksome to many, especially considering that the product is a necessity for millions of people, who have no choice but to buy it.

This source seems to be fairly reliable, although it could elaborate on certain aspects of the controversy, such as current legal battles over the rights to the epi pens technology. It does provide an interesting perspective about the protections for companies producing medical products, and demonstrates the irony of many situations by describing the history of the technologies development.

This reading is relevant because it addresses some of the ethical dilemmas associated with needle technology. The epi pen has become a necessity, so it is wrong that the price should be jacked up so high. Yet on the other hand, not allowing the pharmaceutical company to generate as much profit from the product diverts resources away from research for developing new life saving technologies.



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