Physician avoids high cost of EpiPens with homemade device

Cathleen London, MD, a family physician practicing in Milbridge, Maine, built her own epinephrine auto-injector to provide patients with a cheaper alternative to Mylan's EpiPen, reports StarTribune.

Dr. London knew some of her patients would not be able to afford the life-saving device, which costs more than $600 for a pack of two.

"I thought: This is disgusting. There's got to be another auto-injector," she said. "I started googling."

After conducting extensive research on the devices, Dr. London purchased reusable aut-oinjectors marketed for use with insulin syringes from a medical device manufacturer and filled them with epinephrine herself.

"I found the right syringe. I put in the dose I wanted. Whether it's expired or used, people come back and refill it," she told Star Tribune.

She charges patients $50 for the initial device and just $2.50 for a refill, which must be done every 18 months. While the homemade device is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, both the auto-injector and epinephrine have approval, separately.

While Dr. London's work shields patients from high drug prices, the practice does pose potential safety risks and require great trust between the patient and physician, notes the Star Tribune.

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