In his 93 years, Bob Wallace has seen some product-pricing doozies over the decades, but the nonstop national furor over the stratospheric price hikes for EpiPens — now retailing above $700 for a two-pack — was the final shot.
“I’m a cheapskate,” the Saratoga inventor and businessman proudly proclaimed. “And this is not rocket science. People should be aware of what they’re getting hooked for.”
So in time-honored Silicon Valley tradition — and piqued by the EpiPen-maker Mylan’s corporate tagline “Seeing Is Believing” — Wallace and Roland Krevitt, a veteran Scotts Valley manufacturing and tooling consultant, set out to demystify the cost to produce the EpiPen, piece by piece.
The auto-injector delivers a lifesaving dose of adrenaline to treat serious allergic reactions to everything from bee stings to food.
Hunched over his vintage Shopsmith table saw in his garage, Wallace sliced open the plastic injector to begin reverse-engineering the device. Then it was Krevitt’s turn to break out his gram scale and caliper to crunch the costs for molding and manufacturing the nozzle, needle, syringe, springs, safety cap — and 0.3 mg of epinephrine.
Their startling estimate of the cost for a two-pack of EpiPens: $8.02.
And that even included the bright-yellow box.