Since there seems to be a lot of confusion in the media about the real issue here, the EpiPen problem (1) has nothing to do with drug patents, and (2) has relatively little to do with patent protection in general.
IIRC doesn't the patent in this case apply specifically to the mechanism? And yes, epinephrine, for those who don't know, is commonly called adrenaline, which is the name brand of synthetic (but is chemically identical to the endogenous source, and thus no different from it) epinephrine.
And indeed, in many cases when there's a drug monopoly, it doesn't involve a patent. Because I have stage 4 CKD, I have problems with gout. The only medication that effectively treats it in my case is a drug called colchicine. That particular drug has been in use for a few centuries now, but a company presently has market exclusivity. Why? Well, when the Food and Drug Act was passed in 1934, any drug made from that point forward had have its efficacy proven before it could be prescribed, however old medications were "grandfathered in" until a few decades ago (I don't remember the exact year) when the FDA said they needed to pass scientific scrutiny, go through clinical trials, etc, to have their efficacy empirically proven. Colchicine was one of these drugs, and before this happened it was about 10 cents a pill, until the company that put it through its paces was granted market exclusivity as part of their efforts to prove that it works. They then trademarked it under the name Colcrys and raised the price to about $6 per pill.
And again, there is no intellectual property involved here, just the FDA granting market exclusivity. And to a point, I agree with this; they put in the effort to make sure that a drug that's actually by all definitions of the word toxic (it comes from a highly toxic plant) actually works and won't kill you, which isn't a cheap thing to do, they should be able to see a return on investment. But allowing them to raise the price of a drug that is super cheap to produce to a price that's just flat out extortion is ridiculous.
About the only rationale I can figure for avoiding the syringe issue is people's fear of needles
Actually believe it or not I'm less scared of a syringe than an autoinjector. Why? Because in the Army we were issued an autoinjector in case of exposure to some kind of gas (I don't remember which one) which you were supposed to inject into the muscle in your butt cheek. The scary part was how I saw one of these stick right through a 2x4 piece of wood. Imagine if you accidentally stuck your hip bone or your hand...oww...I'll stick with the syringe, thanks.