Mylan and the EpiPen

Heather Bresch and Mylan Pharmaceuticals are both clever and stupid. Mylan is the company that makes the EpiPen, you might have heard about this. They were clever enough to spread their increases over many years:

Since 2009, Mylan has jacked up the price of the lifesaving allergy treatment an incredible 15 times. The list price on a two-pack of EpiPens is $609, up 400% from seven years ago.

And they mostly tried to hide the price from consumers:

Mylan said the company never intended for patients to pay the full price, expecting insurers would carry the load.

“We recognize the significant burden on patients from continued, rising insurance premiums and being forced increasingly to pay the full list price for medicines at the pharmacy counter,” chief executive Heather Bresch said in a statement.

But they’re also pretty stupid. At some point you can’t hide price hikes if you do it so many times and increase the price too much–they just got too greedy and now a bunch of Senators have sent them a letter noticing that price of the EpiPens has soared as the salary of the CEO has as well:

Reports emerged last week that the company had implemented a series of gradual price increases inflating the price of the drug from $56.64 to $317.82, a 461% increase in cost since Mylan acquired the rights to EpiPen in 2007. During that same time, Heather Bresch, chief executive officer of Mylan, saw her pay rise $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a 671% increase. Last week, she sold 100,200 of her shares in the company for more than $5m.

What’s their explanation?

“We recognize the significant burden on patients from continued, rising insurance premiums and being forced increasingly to pay the full list price for medicines at the pharmacy counter,” Bresch said in the company’s statement Thursday. “Patients deserve increased price transparency and affordable care, particularly as the system shifts significant costs to them. However, price is only one part of the problem that we are addressing with today’s actions.”

Given that one of the reasons insurance premiums are soaring and copays are increasing is the increased cost of drugs, Heather Bresch is basically blaming herself and her company but pretending otherwise. So far it doesn’t seem to be working. You’ll notice that the prices in the Guardian article are the price Mylan charges the middlemen, so those increases are all on Mylan. Here’s hoping they lose lots of money over their greed.

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