FORT ERIE - Western New Yorkers have a simple option to avoid paying $300 dollars for an EpiPen.
They can drive to Canada and buy one for just over $100.
Maker of the EpiPen, Mylan has been under intense criticism for the dramatic price increase of it's EpiPen, which is a single-dose, auto-injector loaded with epinephrine. The drug neutralizes powerful allergic reactions, like to bee stings and food allergies.
These pens sell for around $600 for a two-pack in the US.
In Canada, they are much cheaper.
Today we drove over to the Pharma Plus Drug Mart on Garrison Road in Fort Erie. I walked in, went to the pharmacy counter and asked for an EpiPen. The clerk picked one off a nearby shelf and placed it on the counter. No prescription was necessary.
Total cost, $132.29 in Canadian funds. Factor in the currency exchange rate and it prices out at $101.65 in American dollars. That's roughly one-third the cost of the same item sold in the US.
Medications are often cheaper in Canada because drugs prices are regulated. Ridgeway pharmacist Sam Bashta understands drug makers need to make money and recover the cost of developing medications, but he thinks capping costs is right thing to do.
“I’m always concerned about prices of medication because it’s not fair for wealthy people to stay healthy and people who cannot afford medication should die," said Bashta.
And bringing the EpiPen back into the U.S. is permitted, so long as quantities are limited.
U.S. Customs and Board Protection said in a statement, "A person who has purchased a personal quantity of EpiPens outside the United States may travel across the board, into the US, with them."