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article imageOp-Ed: EpiPen execs got huge raises after they jacked up the price

By Karen Graham     Aug 24, 2016 in Health
The life-saving EpiPen had a ridiculously steep increase in price recently, and now the world is finding out that all the big executives at Mylan gave themselves huge raises at right about the same time they stuck it to consumers.
Mylan acquired the rights to EpiPen in 2007. The EpiPen is a device that is used to provide emergency epinephrine to stop a potentially fatal allergic reaction in many allergy sufferers.
But Mylan started raising the price almost immediately, and in 2008-2009, it raised the cost by 5.0 percent. Then, at the end of 2009, they tried out a 19 percent increase in the cost. Seeing as no one pitched a fit over that price hike, successive years have seen price increases of 10 percent by 2013.
NBC News is reporting that proxy filings from 2007 to 2015 show that Mylan CEO Heather Bresch's total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a 671 percent increase.
During that same period of time, the wholesale price of the EpiPen went from $56.64 to $317.82. Now that is a hefty price hike, according to Connecture, an online health insurance provider.
Mylan wasn't satisfied to stop with the price increases, and from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2016, EpiPen prices were raised 15 percent every other quarter. Mylan's stock was increasing in value, going from $13.29 in 2007 to a high of $47.59 in 2016.
It wasn't just the CEO who got a nice fat raise. The company president and its Chief Commercial Officer got nice raises, too. As of right now, EpiPen provides about 40 percent of the company's revenues, and it seems that a lot of that goes to paying the company's executives.
But here's an interesting piece of information that makes me suspicious of Mylan's lobbying efforts. In 2008, they ramped up their lobbying, increasing their annual budget from $270,000 to $1.2 million every year. And apparently it paid off, or Mylan padded someone's pockets because, in 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed their recommendations on EpiPen.
The FDA says that EpiPens must now be sold in packages containing two pens, and additionally, it recommends that everyone who is at risk, not just those with confirmed allergies, be prescribed an EpiPen. That one recommendation means that anyone having any kind of allergy has to be prescribed an EpiPen, and someone is making a pretty penny from that.
Maybe consumers will get some relief, or at least see Mylan investigated. Several Senators, one of them with a daughter that carries an EpiPen, are questioning the price hikes and calling for an investigation, according to CNBC.
"This outrageous increase in the price of EpiPens is occurring at the same time that Mylan ... is exploiting a monopoly market advantage that has fallen into its lap," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said last weekend. She has called for an investigation into the price hikes by the Federal Trade Commission.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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