NewsLocal News


'It’s unacceptable': New York State and federal bills could cap EpiPen costs

Posted at 9:22 AM, Mar 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-18 12:34:03-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Nearly two million people in New York have life-threatening food allergies, with many paying high costs for life-saving EpiPens out of pocket.

“To me, as a parent with a child with a food allergy that scares me to know that there are many people out there not carrying their EpiPens," said Amy Burkett, mother of a 10-year-old with severe food allergies.

Last week Burkett traveled to the nation's capital for advocacy work. She's fighting to lower the cost of Epinephrine, commonly known by the brand EpiPen.

“He was given a pea size amount of peanut butter and within 10 seconds he started vomiting," added Burkett.

A two-pack of EpiPens can run for $700 or more. That's why Jason Linde of FARE said new legislation is crucial to protect the 60,000 Western New Yorkers who rely on them.

“I’m thinking of families in Cheektowaga and Hamburg and elsewhere in your area – you know they’re paying the cost of a mortgage payment to afford this," said Linde.

A new federal bill would cap the cost at $60 for a two-pack while proposed state legislation would cap the cost at $100 for the same amount.

“It only takes one dollar of medicine – one dollar of medicine is located inside these two-packs and it only takes eight dollars to manufacture," added Linde.

New York State Senator Tim Kennedy is co-sponsoring the state legislation.

“It’s unacceptable and if they’re not going to do something to control the cost, we’re going to make sure that we do," said Kennedy. “We want to do even better but this at least puts a cap in place and allows us to make sure we’re working toward the goal of making it affordable for all New Yorkers.”

The state bill was referred to the insurance committee to be further studied, with advocates hoping it will be added to the state's budget. If both bills become law, the federal law would supersede state legislation.