Aug. 29, 2016
EpiPen Maker’s Latest Offer: Still Not Good Enough
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Not good enough.
Mylan’s public relations people should tell the company that its responses to the EpiPen rip-off will only further enrage the public. It’s not enough to blame insurance companies, it’s not enough to offer coupons and it’s not enough to offer an overpriced generic version of its own branded product. The company must roll back its unjustified and outrageous price increases.
The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong. Mylan knows its $600/set of EpiPens is unsustainable, but aims to continue ripping off some segment of the marketplace – both consumers who do not trust or know about the generic, and perhaps some insurers and payers constrained from buying a generic. The announced $300 price for Mylan’s generic also comes in too high; the profitable price in Canada is roughly $200 for two, and the price in France is roughly half that.
In short, today’s announcement is just one more convoluted mechanism to avoid plain talk, admit to price gouging and just cut the price of EpiPen.
Last week, Mylan unsuccessfully sought with a convoluted coupon and patient assistance program to appease a public furious over its unconscionable price spikes for EpiPens. This week, Public Citizen and allies will deliver petitions signed by more than 500,000 Americans making clear that the only solution to unjustifiable price increases is a price rollback. And next week, when Congress is back in session, the heat will turn up still higher.
Mylan executives should be ashamed of themselves. But even if they are not, they should recognize that the issue is not going away until the company rolls back the EpiPen price.
The EpiPen case is not an outlier. It is reflective of out-of-control drug pricing. And the outrage over EpiPen prices is a harbinger of a rising public demand for far-reaching reform over drug prices, reform that restrains Big Pharma’s monopoly pricing power.
Read a comprehensive analysis.