Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The EpiPen Crisis: How did this happen?

By Miranda Donohue

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EpiPen: Over $600. Mylan CEO Heather Bresch’s salary in 2015: $18,931,068. Your face when you realize that hundreds of thousands of people’s lives are directly impacted due to this reoccurring example of American corporate greed: priceless.

Many people have heard of the EpiPen cost skyrocketing since the summer, but what little know is just how this preposterous price hike came to be—and how it might have a chance of being legal.

Grossly expensive healthcare and negligence in the regulation of the pharmaceutical industry is a hot button issue that needs resolutions before it is too late. If anything should come from this EpiPen catastrophe, it is that a privatized health industry where CEOs have the chance to orchestrate price hikes is not only absurd but should not be legal. What’s even sadder is this type of morbid financial bubble we’re seeing in the pharmaceutical industry is not the first of its kind—or the last.

Last year, we saw a similar event occur when the price of an anti-infective drug called Daraprim went from $13.50 to $750 a pill. Martin Shkreli, the then-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, was deemed responsible for the unjustified price hike. Shkreli told news outlets such as Time Magazine that he had to raise the prices in order to make profit for his investors. The media jumped on the former CEO and following the event, Shkreli later resigned from his position at Turning Pharmaceuticals.

Will the same be said for Bresch? How many sleazy businessmen and women do we have to hear about being indicted for ripping off millions of average Americans before we see some real change in the corruption of our once high-functioning capitalist economy?

It is easy for politicians to speak on the horrors of Wall Street or on the people that are abusing the system when what really should be talked about is the lack of legislation that exists to prevent these kinds of damage. Laissez-not-so-faire.

Bresch’s day in court showed her complete lack of empathy and desperate, failed attempts at innocence. When asked for the reasoning behind the price hike, Bresch blamed the “system” for not keeping up with change of the healthcare system over the years.

The Food and Drug Administration did not speak during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on its disapproval of competitor or “DIY” EpiPen drugs which could have quite possibly lowered the Mylan price gauge.

To make matters worse, Bresch’s mother, Gayle Manchin, was president of the National Association of State Boards of Education during its proposal of the “epinephrine policy initiative” which basically required EpiPens in American schools. Seems a little too much like House Of Cards to be true? Sadly, it’s not.

Greed and opportunity may seem like themes in your Machiavellian book but when it comes to the American pharmaceutical industry, it’s just an average day at the office.

Miranda Donohue is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

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