My testimony before the Colorado Health and Insurance Committee, February 3, 2023

My name is Lindsey Lewis Smithson, a resident of Castle Rock, and I am here to speak in Favor of Colorado House Bill HB23–1002, concerning the affordability of epinephrine auto-injectors.

I’d like to start by introducing you to my son, Lincoln, and his story. He is the reason I am here today. He is 5 years old and he has severe food allergies that require an EpiPen to be with his person at all times. We did not know this would be our situation when he was born. At 5 months old, on February 17, at 1:35 pm, we fed him peanut butter. I know this because I have a video of this exact moment. Within that one minute and twenty second video of him eating a spoon of peanut butter he started to show distress. Within 10 minutes we were in the ER at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital.

In less than 15 minutes Lincoln turned blue, became swollen beyond recognition, was covered in hives. He projectile vomited everywhere. He was struggling to breathe. His heart rate was 4 times what it should have been. He was dying in front of me. I held him as the nurses were unable to get an IV in his tiny arms or legs, as NICU nurses had to rush to put on IV in his head. I watched epinephrine save his life.

He has to have an EpiPen Jr. with him at all times. Since he is too young to self carry, my husband and I do that for him. At school his teachers do. He has to have two sets of EpiPens- one for home and one logged with the health office for school. The name brand EpiPen Jr retails at $623.74 at the time of writing this, so it would cost us today 1,247.48 to ensure we have his life saving medication. The generic costs are currently $168.42 per pack, costing us 336.64. Due to constant shortages you do not know if you will be getting the generic or the name brand, or what your out of pocket will be. We’ve been forced to buy name brand. We’ve been forced to buy more than one set in a year. We were charged at the ER for the EpiPen that saved my son’s life.

We have no choice. We are trapped, since a single company dictates price and supply, unchecked.

It costs Mylan approximately $8 dollars to make EpiPens. Yet families who need this life saving medication face expenses in the thousands. We face having our HSAs emptied in one purchase. Not filling prescriptions we can’t afford. Our children face going without, because we have to choose medication. When Lincoln is grown, he will have the bear the burden of not only his condition, but also the unrestrained cost. Acting now, in capping the price of EpiPens, this Body will ensure life saving medication is accessible, that families won’t have to make impossible choices, and that future generations won’t go without the very thing that keeps them alive.


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