Health Highlights: Aug. 17, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Huge EpiPen Price Increase Puts Some Patients At Risk

The price of potentially life-saving EpiPens has increased more than 480 percent since 2009, putting them out of reach for some patients.

An EpiPen contains epinephrine, a medicine used to treat a severe allergic reaction. In 2009, pharmacies paid just over $100 for a 2-pack of EpiPens. The price is now more than $600, according to CBS News.

That means some patients have trouble affording the device.

“If they don’t have [the EpiPen], it could mean life or death,” pharmacist Leon Tarasenko told CBS News.

The high cost is forcing some patients to take risks.

“Within the last two months, we’ve had about three patients who had issues with the price of an EpiPen. And we actually — they did not receive it. They just refused to take it,” Tarasenko said.

EpiPen is made by Mylan. The company said in a statement to CBS News that the EpiPen’s price “has changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides,” and that “we’ve made a significant investment to support the device over the past years.”

The company offers coupons worth up to $100, but patients with high deductibles still have to to pay most of the cost of the device out-of-pocket, according to CBS News.


Emergency Yellow Fever Vaccination for 14 Million People in Africa

About 14 million people in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo will be vaccinated against yellow fever in an effort to combat an outbreak that began in December.

There have been more than 6,136 suspected cases, 953 confirmed cases and more than 400 deaths in the two countries, CNN reported.

The emergency vaccination campaign will use just one-fifth of the standard dose in order to maximize the limited supply of vaccines, which take at least six months to manufacture. This “fractional dosing” method was recommended by an advisory committee of experts.

The World Health Organization approved 21 million vaccine doses for Angola and 11.5 million doses for Congo, CNN reported.

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