The pharmaceutical industry in America is a rigged system that continues to jack up prices, block out competition, and restrict price negotiations for cheaper forms of the same medicine. Americans are left navigating a medical system fraught with greed and control. Simple, effective alternatives to health and well being are never regarded as medicine because the corrupt monopoly drug system controls the advertising to consumers, controls what doctors know, and controls the regulatory agencies that protect the monopoly.
This is absolutely the case with the price of EpiPens going up 400% price in recent weeks. This self administered, auto-injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) is a vital intervention for people who have strong allergic reactions, who are prone to anaphylaxis. Epinephrine injections can be life saving, especially if someone’s airways have been obstructed. The epinephrine stimulates the body’s muscles to react to a threat, heightening their senses, making their heart pound faster, and opening their airways.
EpiPen is the commonly used brand name for this medical intervention of epinephrine. There are generic forms of the medicine. If they were made more available, allowed to compete, and not overshadowed by the brand name of EpiPen and the market monopoly it enjoys, then more people could access this medicine for a fraction of the cost.
Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that acquired the patent for EpiPens in 2007, has enjoyed a government-sponsored monopoly on epinephrine injectors over the past decade. Due to the government policies that have created this monopoly, Mylan has raised the price of the EpiPen from $100 to $600.
Innovator has solution for making epinephrine for only $30
Waiting in the shadows of the monopolistic medicine industry, there are pioneers who could help millions of people access life saving medicine and therapies for a fraction of the cost. An innovative solution by pharma hacker Michael Laufer gives people the knowledge to make their own epinephrine injection for just thirty dollars at home. The cheaper version has been dubbed the “EpiPencil.” The ingredients to make it can be obtained online. Laufer is part of a pharma hacking group called Four Thieves Vinegar Collective. They have created a method to help people produce their own medicines at home.
“There’s a small but hopefully growing subculture of people who are buying the active ingredients of drugs,” he said in an interview with IEEE Spectrum. Laufer obtains epinephrine online from chemical suppliers. Laufer has already found a way to make a cheap batch of pyrimethamine, which is the anti-parasitic drug that was raised from $13 to $750 after Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals, took over.
Tired of seeing people ripped off, Laufer has made it his mission to provide pathways for people to take medicine into their own hands. Laufer uses a software program called Chematica, which details how common medicines are synthesized. He plans to create generic forms of several drugs, including Hepatitis C treatments and HIV medications. He provides downloadable instructions on how to make pyrimethamine and epinephrine injections on the Four Thieves website.