Sunday, August 28, 2016

Latest EpiPen Issue

Nearly three years ago I wrote two posts about the increasing price of EpiPens (post in Oct 2013 and in Nov 2013).  The topic is back in the news as the price has continued to go up.  One issue is that there is no generic equivalent for an EpiPen.  Mylan, the company which produces the EpiPen, raised the price again recently, just before a generic was expected to be approved ("Mylan raised EpiPen's Price Before the Expected Approval of a Generic," by Andrew Pollack, New York Times 8/24),  However, the generic was not approved.  Matt Egan of CNN Money reports that one may be available next year.

The CEO of Mylan, Heather, Bresch, appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box to try to diffuse the bad press (see video embedded in linked Slate article).  What I found most startling in her remarks was her comment that "we have passed legislation in 48 states ...." Really?  Mylan passed legislation?  Who elected Mylan to do anything?  What she meant, of course, is that Mylan lobbied for legislation and perhaps even wrote it.  There would have been campaign donations to key state legislators.  So, yes, Mylan probably does feel that it passed legislation.  And that should give us all pause.

On a personal note I refilled our family's EpiPen prescription this week.  It still just costs me $10 for a 2-pack. I work in a union shop and we have good health insurance.  With Mylan's increase, though, it is no doubt costing the insurer a lot more and that will mean higher premiums all around.

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