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What happens when a company gouging its customers gets caught? What are the consequences when the curtain of truth is pulled back? Mylan Pharmaceuticals, producers of the famous EpiPen self-injection device, is finding that out.
The go-everywhere injectable syringe can save lives from potentially fatal allergic reactions to insect stings or bites, foods, drugs and other allergens. But here’s the rub: in 2007, EpiPen only sold for $50 for a sing pen. Then Mylan Pharmaceuticals bought out the old maker and the price shot up to $600 for a 2-pack.
Nothing about this life-saving medication has changed. So, what does a company like Mylan Pharmaceuticals do now? Well, I’m certain of one thing, the PR bill must be going through the roof! Though, that still pales in comparison to the increase in profit they must be experiencing.
After much backlash from the public, Mylan’s president went on the Today show and offered coupons for the uninsured and underinsured but refused to drop the list price. There was some gobbledygook language in the press release that only a PR firm could have written—but it wasn’t enough.
The backlash continued and rightfully so, since making the EpiPen is estimated to cost a mere $3, which would make Mylan’s margin 100x’s greater than a keystone mark-up.
On Monday, Mylan tried again after the first public response failed. The company, which on Friday invited anybody to make a generic version and compete, has now announced that it will soon release it’s own generic version of the Epi-Pen: a 2-pack for $300.
I’m not opposed to profit. It just shouldn’t be king when it comes to medicine … especially a medicine that is needed at an instant and can save lives.
But this has all happened before. What can be done? Probably the most rational response I’ve seen is from the business-oriented conservative Forbes Magazine, which is to allow the FDA to bring transparency to the table by bluntly asking what it costs to make the medicine. And why not allow Medicare, the largest player in medicine payments, negotiate a lower rate?
As bleak as it may seem, another Forbes columnist Emily Willingham spoke truly in her response to the price increase by saying, “Why did Mylan hike EpiPen prices 400%? Because they could.”
As for me, I’m thankful that when it comes to matters of faith, profit doesn’t count. Grace from the Lord is free. If there’s a charge, it’s not grace anymore. God’s favor, His salvation in Christ. It can all be yours without charge.
Charles Morris is the President & Speaker for HAVEN Today. This article is taken from a 3-minute audio commentary that airs weekly throughout North America. To receive weekly updates about faith, news and culture that’s all about Jesus, fill out the form below for more content like this in your inbox every week.