Mylan’s CEO Heather Bresch and a Food and Drug Administration deputy director Doug Throckmorton testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday, September 22, 2016, regarding the high price of the EpiPen®. The questions posed and answers provided were nothing short of high drama with no substance.
Since Mylan acquired the EpiPen® in 2007, the product’s price has increased more than 500%. Personally, I can recall the product being as high as $730 and currently it is riding at approximately $608.
It is apparent that Bresch believes the company has taken reasonable steps to relieve the financial burden from consumers by replacing the $100 coupon with a $300 coupon and announcing the upcoming launch of a generic which will retail for approximately $300. However, refusal to simply lower the price of the EpiPen® has consumers feeling betrayed and fuels the government’s perception that Mylan is playing the ultimate shell game. Plus, let’s not forget the only reason that the coupon was upped to $300 and the unprecedented (Bresch’s word) launch of the generic was due to consumer and finally government outcry with Mylan’s hand caught in the proverbial cookie jar.
Throckmorton was raked over the coals because the FDA approval process is oppressively burdensome. In addition, he was unable to report how many FDA applications were filed for competitors to the EpiPen® because it would go against the FDA’s rules.
While listening to the EpiPen® hearing, I started to think about the corporate value lessons learned during the Hobby Lobby case a couple of years ago. Here’s a sentence from Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in the case that can easily apply to the EpiPen soap opera:
As the bad and the ugly continued to unfold during the hearing, or not unfold for answers not provided, I couldn’t help but also think about the good that Mylan has done with regard to disease awareness, stock epinephrine in schools as well as other places such as zoos, museums, amusement parks, etc. However, any of the good that resulted from Mylan’s efforts is now overshadowed by the ugly. New questions arise such as, Was there even a glimmer of sincerity in those actions? Did Mylan really want to create more investor value and line executive pockets on the backs of food allergic children? Outraged congressional representatives used phrases like a rope-a-dope strategy, an unfair monopoly, a shell game, a sham, something smells fishy, numbers don’t add up, charts that seem dumbed down, and a simple but corrupt business model to describe their understanding of Mylan’s actions.
Just because the government is looking into Mylan’s practices, doesn’t mean our work is over. Continue to communicate with your legislators via calls, emails and letters and share your prescription drug pricing woes until change actually happens!
To truly understand the lack of answers provided, along with some great one liners delivered by government officials, view the full event below in its entirety.
Stay tuned…Heather Bresch and Doug Throckmorton are due to disclose more information in 10 days.
This drama is far from over.