by MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
You may remember the EpiPen scandal — the massive price increases on the life-saving drug delivery system that saves people temporarily from allergic reactions — from awhile back. In 2016, The Daily Take Team wroteon Truthout,
Dozens of reports are now coming out about how Mylan Pharmaceuticals hiked the price of the very common life-saving EpiPen by over 450 percent since Mylan bought EpiPen in 2007.
You’ve probably heard of EpiPens, and you probably know someone who needs to carry two around with them at all times, just in case they have a severe allergic reaction as a result of some everyday occurrence — for example, encountering a food product with peanuts or being stung by a bee….
But it’s not the epinephrine that makes EpiPens unique, it’s the precision delivery system, the “Pen,” that makes the product special. And that delivery system really hasn’t changed since 1977 when the EpiPen hit the market. So why has the price more than quadrupled since 2007? Why are patients who need this medicine currently paying $600 for two pens?
Because of the greed at Mylan Pharmaceuticals, plain and simple.
Mylan Pharmaceuticals did not confine their price gouging to individual consumers who required the EpiPen for survival. According to Public Citizen, a Washington, DC-based progressive advocacy group, the company also defrauded the federal government, as noted in a news release this month. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, scathingly attacked a recent government settlement with Mylan for cheating the Medicaid program:
Mylan ripped off the government big time, and the U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ] is letting the company get away with it. Mylan misclassified EpiPen in such a way as to provide less generous discounts to Medicaid purchasers than the law requires. A government investigation concluded that as a result of the classification, Medicaid programs paid $1.27 billion more for EpiPens than they should have between 2006 and 2016.
Today’s shameful settlement is for barely a third of the amount of the rip-off, and it fails to include an admission of guilt – an appalling omission for a decade-long scheme that enabled Mylan to fatten its bottom line by more than a billion.