Yeah, I have only been diagnosed (initially by self) for less than a decade, and my own recollection has to do with diabetic friends and colleagues. What you say sounds right. A year in the 'frig is pretty good – not what I would call short. I guess $20 was more four decades ago than today, but at least not prohibitive for most. I was in college then, and my annual living expenses were maybe $2k in the mid '70s. But I was very frugal too.
You mention “bulk” epinephrine. I have CVID (a polygenic, or primary, immunodeficiency) and now infuse (antibodies, of which I make none of my own) weekly, and I must have epinephrine available at all times for the infusions. It is paid for by insurance, but many hundreds of dollars, and has to be renewed after one year at most. This is what I am referring to as the “racket”. Glucagon is much more effective than adrenaline for quickly raising BG, being the “primary” hormone, whereas adrenaline is only a secondary response (endogenously).
I looked into all of the options for obtaining vial epinephrine, whch indeed is sold widely for < $10. But only to licensed pro’s, including vet’s. Furthermore, even if I had found a source (and I did not) for myself, it would not have satisfied the requirement of verified purchase, with prescription, of one of the pen-forms of epinephrine. My “specialty pharmacy” and immunologists’ office regularly verify that I have the in-date pen. So all of this is some background for my comments. Even as a diabetic I cannot access either hormone in a vial. Patients taking beta blockers and having various common conditions can be refractory to epinephrine, moreover, but glucagon is still effective for emergency treatment of acute immunological reactions.
More interesting to me than the regulatory treatment of human and analog insulins is that of injectable glucagon and epinephrine. This has become a big racket, I think, because these have become so profitable as emergency supplies for anaphylaxis and similar acute immunlogical reactions. They used to be available as emergency supplies for diabetics, I think.
Anyone know more about the market history of these emergency hyperglycemics?
My recollection from nearly 40 years ago is that a glucagon kit was about $20 and came in a wooden box with glass syringe and had to be refrigerated. Like today’s kits it is mixed up at usage time. Life in refrigerator was short, just a year? I got mine back then with prescription but do not know if it was also available without prescription.
Today a glucagon kit is closer to $300.
On epinephrine: bulk epinephrine in a vial is just $5. It is available by prescription. Epi-pens are $600 for two of the brand name ones, or $200 for the cheaper ones.