Nicole RodriguezProf. EngMGMT 30808 December 2017TheEpiPen ScandalWhenpeople have serious allergic reactions to insect stings, bites, foods, drugs,or other substances the medication to go to is the EpiPen. The injectableEpiPen contains epinephrine, a substance that narrows blood vessels and opensairways in the lungs. These effects can undo low blood pressure, wheeziness,hives, and plenty of other symptoms of an allergic reaction. This medicationhas been around for more than a century. And the pen that supplies thetreatment has been around since the 1970s.
It was actually developed for themilitary. Since 2007, the fee for a two-pack has gone up from $93.88 to$608.61, an increase of more than 500%. For many having this medication is alife or death situation. This is where our scandal begins.TheEpiPen is a modern drug facing drug-pricing pressure.
The price swelled about500% in 2007 to 2016. This new price has made it extremely difficult for peoplewho are reliant on the drug, to have access it. The new price tag of thismedication is due to a company called Mylan Pharmaceuticals.
They attainedpatent rights to the medication in 2007. Since then Mylan began to increase theprice of the Epipen. This price increase came without any new formula orchanges to the medication. The company became in control because they only soldthe EpiPen, so they were able to put any price on it. The CEO, Heather Bresch, started in 2012, andclaims any raise in price on her part was people aware of the medication.
Mylan CEO’s Pay Rose Over 600 Percent as EpiPen PriceRose 400 Percent.The badactivity was performed by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, by their actions of hiking upthe prices. It is unethical to unreasonably increase prices of medication thatcan save a life. They are blameworthy of manipulating and exploiting their consumersto make as much capital as possible. EpiPen’s producer has continued to boostthe price of a two-pack throughout the years. The abruptly higher price leaveparents baffled because they can’t afford it.
Many patients relyon this medication to keep them well. When pharmaceutical companies face no opposition in themarket they have the authority to set any price, then patients will pay extrafor insurance. This is called price gouging – no matter what kind ofinsurance they have. Mylan is mainly to blame for this unethical situation, andsome might say the government because they did not set any price controls. Andthe government has only recently begun to have hearings for the company. Mylantried to take good actions after the public caused commotion over the cost of thisonce affordable medication.
The companysprung the epipen4schools program. A disadvantage to this program was thatschools could only qualify for the discount if they settled to buy the productfrom only them. This made Epipen the only FDA accepted medication available in schools.The EpiPen sold to schools is $112.10. For most that price was still way toohigh, but they are forced to purchase them. Consequently,the public was harmed. Many couldn’t afford to buy the medication forthemselves or their children.
Even if they could afford just one pack, itreally wouldn’t be enough for the rest of their lives, because medication doesexpire, get lost, or break. The price increase put a lot of people in danger fromallergic reactions. Everyday most people are at risk of having an allergicreaction to something. Mylan put many in risk, or have even brought people totheir deaths.
Most live in fear for themselves or their children because they can’tafford to protect them from severe allergic reactions.Ultimately,the bad activity could have been prevented. There was no real reason to spikeup prices. Mylan could have left the price to $100, but they wanted to gainmore for themselves financially. People would have been okay with paying $100so they and their children can live safely.
Mylan gave no valid reason for theprice hike. The government should have been more involved in price controls, itwould help keep the price on live-saving medication down. The EpiPens price wasalso due to lack of competition, so more competition would have made areasonable price. Not muchhas been done to alleviate this bad situation.
CEO, Heather Bresch has notnecessarily committed any crimes nothing can legally be done. There have beenmany hearings no charges have been made against the company. The company ishard to charge because of their intense lobbying. The company still holdscontrol, but have released a generic brand that is still unaffordable.
It hasleft many baffled.So howdoes this scandal connect to our class and textbook?In Chapter3—Business Power (pg 64), the dominance theory states that business is the mostpowerful institution in society, because of its control of wealth. This poweris inadequately checked and, consequently, excessive.
In the case of Mylan itwasn’t until 2016 did they have a hearing for the company. Even after theinvestigation they weren’t charged for anything, so this allowed them tocontinue maximizing their profits. They dominant the pharmaceutical arena andno one has been able to “put them in check,” because of this they are able tocharge at any price.
Mylan’s wealth easily demonstrates how big businesses canbe in control of society. They leave no choice for consumers, but to pay theridiculous amount. Sometimes Big businesses have little regard for theirconsumers when they command in the business realm. In Chapter 8—Making Ethical Decisions in Business (pg241), we are introduced to Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of the categoricalimperative, “act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same timewill that it should become a universal law.” Which means to act as you wouldwant all other people to act towards all other people. If all businessestrailed the actions of Mylan nothing would be reasonably affordable. Under thisphilosophy Mylan shouldn’t have created those prices unless they were willingto be treated the same. This code of conduct would keep companies in check,because they wouldn’t want their medication, that is essential for living, tobe at an outrageous price.
In Chapter 9—Business in Politics (pg 275) “Businessseeks and exercises political power in a government that is extraordinarilyopen to influence. Its power is exercised on constitutional terrain created bythe Founding Fathers more than 200 years ago.” Its no secret that thegovernment is easily manipulated by capital. This relates to our scandalbecause the CEO of Mylan had pawns in the government. With 600% profits it easyfor her to influence the administration. That is why it has been hard to chargeher for anything. Furthermore, this tiesin to Chapter 9 Business in Politics (pg 289), the textbook shares that “lobbyistsoften meet with a legislator’s staff or committee staff.
They testify atrule-making hearings in agencies and legislative hearings in the House andSenate.” During subcommittee sessions when bills are assembled, it is not unusualfor them to hook a “legislator’s eye and give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down signalas amendments come to a vote.” Lobbying is just one way the business has disbursedmillions of dollars developing the Epipen since it attained the patent in 2007,according to Kaiser, the company enhanced lobbyists in 36 states between 2010and 2014. They exhausted more than 1.3 million lobbying in 16 states since2010.
Meanwhile, 10 states have passed laws requiring epinephrine in schools andanother 38 states have passed laws permitting them according to the advocacygroup food allergy research and education. They have so much wealth, they can eveninfluence society. They are forcing schools and political influencers tostrictly endorse them. The company’s price hikes on a life-saving drug isunethical. Thereneeds to be more competition, more choices, and lower costs. This scandal is adelicate one because people can’t simply boycott a medication they need. It isup to the business to act ethically, or the government to step in and set pricecontrols immediately. Something must give in, so that people can live safely.
Work CitedKiersz,Lydia Ramsey and Andy. “An EpiPen is 500% more expensive than it was in 2007 -here’s how that happened.” Business Insider, BusinessInsider, 24 Aug.
2016, www.businessinsider.com/epipen-price-increases-2016-8.Popken,Ben. “Mylan CEO’s Pay Rose Over 600 Percent as EpiPen Price Rose 400Percent.
” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 23 Aug.2016,www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/mylan-execs-gave-themselves-raises-they-hiked-epipen-prices-n636591.