She’s the daughter of a U.S. Senator
via YouTube and Flickr (cc) user Ingnite News
Last year, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli caused outrage after raising the price of a life-saving AIDS drug from $13.50 a pill to $750 after acquiring its marketing rights from Impax Laboratories. Now, Mylan Pharmaceuticals CEO and daughter of US Senator Joe Manchin, Heather Bresch, has caused an uproar after her company has raised the price of a two-dose EpiPen package from under $100 to $600 since 2007. Mylan’s price jacking of a drug that can mean the difference between life and death has drawn criticism from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and even Shkreli himself called Mylan execs “Vultures.”
Millions of Americans rely on EpiPens to administer a quick life-saving dose of epinephrine in the case of severe allergic reactions. They’re used to treat anaphylactic shock caused by allergic reactions to spider bites, peanuts, eggs, and shellfish. Without fast access to the drug, severe allergy sufferers can die within minutes. This price gouge has Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota calling out Mylan and Bresch, the daughter of one of her Democratic partners in the Senate. “Many Americans, including my own daughter, rely on this life-saving product to treat severe allergic reactions,” she said on her website. “Not only is this alarming price increase unjustified, it puts life-saving treatment out of reach to the consumers who need it most.”
According to Bresch, Mylan receives $274 for a two-dose EpiPen package, and the rest of the cost goes to other entities including insurers, pharmacy benefits managers, drugstores, and wholesalers. But last year, almost 3.6 million prescriptions were filled for EpiPen two-packs, bringing nearly $1.7 billion in sales for the company. Although families have been forced to pay a huge bill for this life-saving drug, the price increase seems to be paying off for Bresch. According to NBC News, Bresch earned $2,453,456 in 2007, the year Mylan acquired EpiPen. Last year, Bresch’s total compensation was $18,931,068.
In response to the widespread criticism, Mylan Pharmaceuticals has announced it will make the drug more affordable. The company says it will provide $300 savings cards to cut the price and will double the eligibility for its patient assistance program. But some see this move as a shell game and a PR move to abate public criticism. “Discounts for selected customers without lowering the overall price of EpiPens are insufficient,” a spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign said. “The excessive price will likely be passed on through higher insurance premiums.”