EpiPen controversy: a local parent's opinion - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

EpiPen controversy: a local parent's opinion

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KENNEWICK, WA - An EpiPen can be the only thing standing between life and death. With such a large price hike, many people are having trouble affording one.

Joe Crowther's 12-year-old son has needed an EpiPen for the past decade.

"When we started out 10 years ago or so, I was on a normal insurance plan," said Crowther. "It was where we just paid a few bucks out of pocket for the thing. We switched to a high deductible a couple of years back, and we were paying 50 to 100 dollars or something like that. I went to Costco this year and it was $698."

The price hike did not go unnoticed. It has gone up 400% since 2009.

"The price of EpiPens is too high," said Crowther. "I think it's frustrating too that you see the price of the EpiPen has gone up, but at the same time the companies that make it, their executives have gotten paid huge amounts of money. And so you look at it and it just looks like a whole lot of greed in raising that price. I think it needs to come back down. I think they also need more competition in the market."

Joe has looked into multiple alternatives, but he says only one thing needs to be done.

"What needs to be done is pretty simple," said Crowther. "They need to drop the price."

Vickie Wright, the school nurse at Mark Twain Elementary School, says all she can do is act as a middle man for families who can't afford an EpiPen.

"We hook those families up, those parents up with insurance," said Wright. "If they don't have it, then we hook them up with physicians who can provide coupons."