Epinephrine and Pharma Gouging

Everyone remembers how the EpiPen starting going up in price after a pharmaceutical company realized they could secretly do it.  Not until pressure and, more importantly, competition did it become more affordable.  Now other drugs that have been around for decades are starting to be bought up and the prices are becoming outlandish to buy them as well. Remember, these drugs are not even protected by patents anymore.

The newest travesty involves plain old epinephrine and it is explained here by a reader of this blog:

Just had to absord an 800% increase in the price of Lidocaine with eprinephrine. If I can find it I now pay $13 for a 20 ml bottle and last year I paid $4 for a 50 ml bottle!  This drug that has been available since the 1920s.

Also, there are no epinephrine ampules at $1 anymore. Here are the new prices:
  • Epinephrine (1:1,000) 1mg/ml 1mL 10/Amp (PF) (SF) at $235 per box 
  • Epinephrine HCl 0.1mg/mL 10mL 10/box
  • Syringe at $345 per pack or individually
  • Epinephrine HCl Injection 1mg/mL 30mL Vial each at $155 each

Please share this to get the word out in order to bring competition into the market and bring down prices like what happened with the EpiPen.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  6 comments for “Epinephrine and Pharma Gouging

  1. Stephen Rockower
    July 13, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    The State of Maryland passed a law last year to allow our Attorney General to sue pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) for price hikes of > 50% per year for generic drugs charged to our Medicaid system. The drug industry is, of course, fighting back. We will see what happens in court.
    Do any of you belong to your state medical society? We were instrumental in getting this passed. There is an advantage to belonging to organized medicine!
    Stephen Rockower, MD
    President, MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society

  2. Mamadoc
    July 13, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    I fear the same thing is about to happen with atenolol

  3. Kurt
    July 13, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Sad, very sad. Remember what happened to good ‘ol tetracycline? Same thing.

  4. Tad Hominem
    July 12, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    So what do you do if there is no competition forthcoming?? Or if the only competition manufactures in India? I think it is still legal to pay somebody / company to NOT compete. That practice was highlited a few years ago and doubt it has been made illegal.

  5. arf
    July 12, 2017 at 4:26 pm


    At least those nations, and surely we can add more. Countries where I would have no problem taking a pharmaceutical manufactured in that nation, and I doubt anyone else would have a problem either. I mean from the perspective of quality standards that are comparable to the USA, if not better.

    We should be able to import pharmaceuticals from those countries as easily as we can ship domestic product across state lines.

  6. Gerard Mazza
    July 12, 2017 at 8:28 am

    I just experienced the same thing when trying to keep Epi for the office. It goes out of date and in 32 years I have had to use it only once. Now with the increase in price, I will no longer keep it in the office and will call EMS if needed. So rather than being able to use a $1.00 vial of epi, there will be a $1,000.00 EMS charge. Once again between the insurance companies and big pharma, the cost of medicine continues to sky rocket.

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