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Shkreli defends Mylan for Raising EpiPen Price 600%

Millions depend on EpiPen for fatal allergic reactions from bee stings, or accidentally consuming peanuts.

 

August 27, 2016

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is said to have increased her compensation by 600%, while at the same time raising the price of EpiPen by a similar percentage.

An estimated 1 in 13 children in the United States is affected by an allergy to foods like milk, eggs, peanuts, fish and shellfish-a figure that is steadily growing, for reasons that are not clear. At least one US Senator, Amy Klobacher, is calling for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Mylan, which has a virtual lock on sudden allergy relief through it's product, EpiPen. It is a pocket size medical device that is to allergy relief, what a defibrilator is for a heart attack.

Sanofi's competing product was removed from the shelf last year. By the first half of 2015, Mylan had an 85% market share of such devices in the US and in that year sales reached around $1.5B and accounted for 40% of Mylan's profit.

"I'm saddened and disappointed," said Sarah Jessica Parker, ending her relationship with Mylan and EpiPen.

Those profits were also due in part to Mylan's continually raising the price of EpiPens starting in 2009; in 2007 the wholesale price of two EpiPens was about $100, the price was about the same in 2009, by July 2013 the price about $265, in May 2015 it was around $461, and in May 2016 the price rose again to around $609.

The last price increase sparked widespread outrage, including criticism even from Martin Shkreli, "poster boy for grasping pharma greed," letters from two Senators and initiation of Congressional investigations.

Shkreli, who is currently under federal investigation for alleged fraud with another company, defended Mylan on Twitter and said, "You mean they spent money to make the pen and now they are patenting it? let them charge what they want."

The last price increase coincided with a new line of TV commercials that were described as "shocking" and "no holds barred", depicting an anaphylactic reaction from the point of view of the young woman having it at a party, and ending with the young woman seeing her swollen and hive-covered face in the mirror before she collapses

Martin Shkreli, who is currently under federal investigation for alleged fraud with another company, defended Mylan on Twitter and said, "You mean they spent money to make the pen and now they are patenting it? let them charge what they want."

You would think that Mylan would know better. Last year, Valeant Pharmaceuticals was involved in a controversy about drug price hikes and the use of a specialty pharmacy for the distribution of its specialty drugs. The company's stock price plummeted nearly 90 percent since the peak. Valeant reversed the price hikes and ended cooperation with specialty pharmacy Philidor Rx Services and began cooperation with Walgreens.

Valeant is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

MoveOn.org has climbed on the anti drug corporation bandwagon. In a recent e mail, the group said: In 2007, the wholesale price of an EpiPen in the U.S. was $57, Today, just nine years later, it's over $300. Even though each EpiPen contains only $1 worth of medicine. Even though a two-pack is just $85 in France.

And even though Mylan, which has a near monopoly in the U.S., has seen its profits from the EpiPen alone skyrocket to $1 billion a year. Now, many people, like my son, could actually die because they can't afford an EpiPen!

The group suggests that consumers "Tell Mylan CEO Heather Bresch to immediately reduce the cost of this life-or-death treatment that so many people depend on."

 
 

Reader Comments
(1)

Maddening writes:

Wow! It is shocking to me how these CEOs like Shkreli and Bresch are so out of touch with common people and with reality. $600 is nothing to them because they make millions. $600 is a lot of money to a small family barely getting by. Sure they need to make money, but this is absolutely disgusting to jack margins up that much on a life-saving product. Bresch and Shkreli's comments are absolutely maddening.

 
 
 

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