“Epipen Outrage”: That was the heading to a graphic displayed during the Aug. 29 “NBC Nightly News” broadcast about the rapid increase in the price of two EpiPens, from $100 to $600 in a decade. Given the drug’s one-year shelf life, it means the cost to use two pens, or have two on hand, is $600 a year. TV news has given the subject considerable attention.

Escaping “outrage” are Humira and its competitor Enbrel. As I wrote in a December Maine Voices column, Humira and Enbrel, each made by a different company, were priced within $1 of each other at $2,800 a month in June 2015 (pricing via goodrx.com). By December they remained within a dollar of each other at $3,533.

Today, still within $1 of each other, the price is $4,200 a month (Target/CVS), which means that, in the past 15 months, their cost has risen $1,400 per month, or $168,000 per year. Comparatively, it means Humira and Enbrel raised their cost by an amount 28 times greater than the annual cost of two EpiPens, with an overall cost 84 times greater.

So, why all the media fuss about EpiPen and not a word about Humira and Enbrel?

Money. Billions. News executives (like politicians) are not keen to bite the hands that feed them, and as I wrote in December, “You almost can’t watch TV without seeing an ad for Humira.” And Humira is a prime sponsor for the nightly news shows, which puts them in the unprincipled position of running a story on a $600 drug while sidestepping the story about the competing $50,000 drugs that have the same pricing.

The terms “collusion,” “price fixing,” “profiteering” and “antitrust laws” come to mind, and that’s a story I hope they’ll cover someday. But perhaps I’m being naïve.

Jim O’Connor

South Portland