Build Your Own EpiPen

Serious allergic reactions can be frightening, and for those who suffer from them, the process of injecting oneself with a lifesaving EpiPen, a rapid injection device that delivers epinephrine to reverse the allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, can be a frustrating routine.

This is why consumers were taken aback when pharmaceutical company Mylan raised the price of the EpiPen from under $100 in 2007 (when the company first acquired the product), to over $600 earlier this year, as The New York Times reported. This price increase has left many allergy sufferers — and their friends, family members, even government officials— angry and worried.

Michael Laufer and his cohort of DIY medical activists at Four Thieves Vinegar Collective, a group that views affordable lifesaving treatments as a basic human right, have decided to do something about it, reports IEEE Spectrum. According to a statement published on the group’s website, Laufer et al have developed the EpiPencil, which they say, “can be built entirely using off-the-shelf parts, for just over $30 US.” They posted a video of Laufer assembling the device, as well as a list of retailers that sell the required items.

The active ingredient, epinephrine, is not controlled by Mylan and can be legally obtained by a patient who has a prescription. Laufer does not say where patients can obtain it without a prescription.

The group, who previously shared a method for manufacturing the drug pyrimethamine in response to Turing Pharmaceuticals hiking the drug’s price more than 5,000 percent last year, says its mission is “free medicine for everyone.”