Since 2007, the price of an EpiPen, which treats anaphylactic shock by giving the victim a quick injection of epinephrine, has risen 548 percent to $300 per EpiPen. Since most doctors prescribe at least a two-pack to ensure that one is always nearby for those that need it, that means a $600 cost for the standard unit.
A dose of epinephrine costs about $1
The cost of the dose of epinephrine that is delivered by the EipPen is about $1, which means that the manufacture of the EpiPen, Mylan, charges the consumer $299 for the delivery system to inject the epinephrine from its premeasured automatic syringe. The product has a short shelve life and Mylan recommends replacing the unit once a year.
In response to a question about the EpiPen price increase, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that companies, "often do real damage to their reputation by being greedy and jacking up prices in a way that victimizes vulnerable Americans." Earnest went on to say, the price hike "raises significant questions, even moral questions, in the minds of a lot of people." Clearly, he was referring to President Obama.
"There's no reason an EpiPen, which costs Mylan just a few dollars to make, should cost families more than $600." — Sen. Bernie Sanders
EpiPen CEO is the daughter of Sen. Joe Machin III (D-W.Va.)
The story took on even more of a political turn when it became widespread knowledge that the Mylan CEO, Heather Bresch, is the daughter of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va). The senior Senator from West Virginia served as the state’s governor before his appointment to the Senate in 2010 to fill the seat created by the death of Sen. Robert Byrd. The Democrat was elected to a full term in 2012.
Ms. Bresch, who earned more than $15 million in 2015, has had several controversies during her career. According to Fortune, a 2007 news release claimed that Heather Bresch had received her MBA from West Virgina University. However, it later was revealed the school had altered her transcripts and awarded her a degree retroactively, and it was later withdrawn. At the time, her father was the Governor of West Virginia.
Mylan merged Netherland company for tax inversion
Ms. Bresch created another controversy in 2015 when she merged Mylan with a company in Netherlands in a transaction known as a “tax inversion,” according to a story in The Washington Post. The practice of “tax inversion” has become increasingly unpopular with the public and Congress.
Mylan’s stock price has dropped over 10% since the story broke on Monday. However, according to the Wall Street Journal most Wall Street analysts don’t expect the government will take any action to force Mylan to roll back prices in spite of the public outcry.
The unknown factor in the EpiPen story is how the relationship of Mylan’s CEO Heather Bresch to her father, Sen. Joe Manchin may affect Congress in this election year. It could put pressure on Congress to react with more speed and resolve than it has on other recent stories regarding substantial price increases on drugs.