It has been revealed that the CEO of pharmaceutical company Mylan, the company that recently hiked the price of EpiPens for allergic reactions by an astounding 400%, is the daughter of Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.
Bloomberg News reported today that Heather Bresch, the CEO of the company, has come under heat after Mylan raised the price of EpiPens to over $600 per dose. Bresch could be called up in front of Congress in the next month to explain why her company raised the price of the life-saving allergy injection pen, but it would be very awkward as she is the daughter of West Virginia Senator Manchin.
Mylan’s stock declined 6.2% after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called the price increase “outrageous”. According to some analysts, this could possibly lead regulators to fast-track a review of a rival product by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. or force Mylan to lower their prices, which could hurt their profits and revenue.
This price increase took place after Bresch and the company successfully pushed legislation for the EpiPen to be used in schools nationwide. Many are asking the company about taxpayers having to foot the bill for the drug’s price increase on the heels of this legislation.
Mylan is the latest drug company to come under fire for steep price hikes. Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, and executives from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. were called to testify before congressional committees earlier this year to explain why they raised prices on drugs that had little or no competition.
When it took over sales of the EpiPen in 2007, Mylan increased the price from approximately $57 to more than $600 for two auto-injectors. But it is a more mainstream drug that is used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions insect bites to food allergies to drug allergies, which would be of interest to many suffering from life-threatening reactions.
Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said in a statement, “I am deeply concerned by this significant price increase for a product that has been on the market for more than three decades, and by Mylan’s failure to publicly explain the recent cost increase, which places a significant burden on parents, schools and other purchasers of the EpiPen.” Warner noted that he is a parent of a child with severe allergies.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging wrote a letter to Bresch asking her to “provide a briefing to Committee staff on the pricing of EpiPen at a mutually convenient time no later than two weeks from today.” Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat is calling for investigations by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Federal Trade Commission into illegal and deceptive trade practices and potential antitrust violations.
According to lobbying disclosure forms that were filed with the Office of the Clerk for the House of Representatives, about $4 million was spent by Mylan in 2012 and 2013 on lobbying for access to EpiPens, including the 2013 “School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act”, a program that provides free EpiPens to U.S. schools. A group called the “Food Allergy Research and Education” was a key lobbyist that pushed for the bill that encouraged schools to have epinephrine injectors on hand. Mylan was a top corporate sponsor of the group. Mylan’s EpiPen is by far the top epinephrine auto injector on the market.
Minnesota Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Mylan had done anything to thwart competitors access to the market in order to keep increasing prices. Klobuchar noted a competitor product, Adrenaclick, that she said is less expensive but has much lower sales. Klobuchar was also a co-sponsor of the “School Access to Emergency Epinephrine” bill.
Bresch, 47, has been CEO of Mylan since 2012. She previously held other senior posts at the company, including head of government relations. Last year, she defended the company after it moved the corporate address overseas to lower its U.S. taxes in a transaction known as an inversion. The company is now incorporated in the Netherlands, and its main executive office is located in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Mylan employees and the company’s PAC contributed a total of $60,750 to Senator Manchin between 2011 and 2016.