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Health insurers enter EpiPen battle with infographic

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America’s Health Insurance Plans has been working for years to tell health policymakers, and voters, that drug companies have been contributing more than other players to high health care prices.

Now, the Washington, D.C.-based insurer trade group is pegging a new campaign to the controversy over the dramatic increase in the cost of EpiPen devices.

Related: Clinton’s attacks on drug prices leave health stocks reeling

AHIP is encouraging news organizations to post and link to an infographic it prepared that shows how prices for seven important drugs changed between 2007 and 2014.

Over that period, for example, the cost of an EpiPen device, a device that people with severe allergies can use to cope with life-threatening problems with breathing, increased 222 percent.

But the cost of doxycycline, a common generic antibiotic, increased 9,145 percent. A bottle that sold for just $20 per bottle in the United States in 2013 sold for $1,849 per bottle in 2014.

A medical tourist in Kansas City, Missouri, without drug coverage could fly to Montreal, buy 360 doxycycline pills there, spend three nights in a Holiday Inn hotel downtown, and eat modest restaurant meals for a total cost that would be less than the $1,849 cost of a bottle of doxycycline. 

(Click on graphic to enlarge.)

AHIP drug infographic


Here’s an excerpt from an infographic Mad Magazine created in response to the controversy:

EpiPen - Mad Magazine


Doctors who prescribed Salix drugs ate pretty well

Health insurers may be outcharming drug makers

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