Mylan raises prices on EpiPen because it can

epiKEY TAKEAWAY: In 2009, pharmacies paid slightly more than $100 for a 2-pack of EpiPens. The price has since skyrocketed to more than $600. The company has remarketed the decades-old device without making any significant changes since acquiring it in 2007. It has spent tens of millions of dollars on TV ads and donated the device to schools across the U.S., ensuring it was a familiar product. Perhaps what is most repulsive id Mylan’s response to the price increase.

In a statement, Mylan told CBS News the EpiPen’s price “has changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides,” saying “we’ve made a significant investment to support the device over the past years.” In other words “we have a monopoly and we can charge whatever we want”.

Bullshit

The price of the EpiPen, which treats emergency allergic reactions, has climbed sixfold over the last several years. At drug price-comparison website GoodRx, the cheapest price today is $614 for a package containing two, or more than $300 per EpiPen, up from about $100 for two.

EpiPens have become crucial to Mylan’s bottom line in recent years, after the company purchased the product among others in a 2007 transaction. Higher volumes of EpiPen sales helped drive a 17% increase in specialty segment revenues, the company said in its first-quarter earnings statement.

The list price has risen steadily since the 2007 acquisition, and the price increases were among the largest of any top-selling brand drug, according to a September Bloomberg story.

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I understand that the goal of any business is to maximize profit and shareholder value but when price increases on life saving medications prevents patients from accessing this medication something is very wrong.  What is more disturbing is Mylan’s response to CBS news with routine “pharma speak”.

I’m not sure how the people at Mylan feel about working for a company that takes advantage of patients this way, but doing something because you are able to do it does not make it morally right.