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The U.S. Government funded the research to create the EpiPen; yet now Mylan, the company with the exclusive rights to market the life-saving product, raised the price to $600 per package which is a 400% price increase. While EpiPen is not the first time we have seen obscene price increases by Big Pharma, it is perhaps the most egregious because so many children need this product. There are alternative to EpiPen but the FDA has blocked the marketing of these products giving Mylan a monopoly. When a company is willing to endanger children in its quest for obscene profits, it is time to act.
We join with our partners at CREDO and demand that President Obama use his executive power and end Mylan's monopoly on the EpiPen. We will not tolerate putting lives at risk in the name of corporate profits.
Petition to President Obama:
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Most people know that the EpiPen can mean the difference between life and death for those with life-threatening allergies.1 What you may not know is that the U.S. government funded the creation of the precursor to the EpiPen – and now, Big Pharma has turned this life-saving device into a cash cow at the expense of suffering Americans.2,3
Mylan, a giant pharmaceutical company, bought the exclusive rights to EpiPen in 2007. Since then, it has increased the costs by 400 percent – more than $600 per package. Because EpiPens expire within months, millions of Americans were forced to either pony up or risk death. Meanwhile, the company dodged taxes and raised its CEO's pay by 671 percent, and in the past few weeks, the price hikes have sparked outrage across the country – while drawing support from "Pharma bro" Martin Shkreli, who infamously bought a life-saving drug and hiked the price.4,5
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has blocked alternatives to Mylan's EpiPen in the past. It is long past time for the FDA to reverse course, strip Mylan of its monopoly, and allow other companies to produce the same product at a lower cost.6 But the FDA works for President Obama – and that's why we're teaming up with our friends at The Other 98% and Social Security Works to urge the president to issue the executive order and force the FDA make EpiPens affordable for all.
CREDO members are no strangers to the fight against Big Pharma. By the tens of thousands, we demanded that the Securities and Exchange Commission rein in price-gouging pharmaceutical companies. When too many in Washington looked the other way, we spoke out against the nomination of pharmaceutical industry insider and now-FDA Director Dr. Robert Califf. Now, our voices are needed once again.
Mylan has hiked the price of dozens of other medications, as well. In 2016, it more than doubled the prices of seven of its medications.7 And last year, the company moved its headquarters to the Netherlands as part of a corporate inversion, a tax dodge that CREDO members have also campaigned against.8
In an effort to stem the tide of public outrage over its price gouging, Mylan just announced that it would reduce the price of EpiPens for some people and offer a generic alternative.9 But these PR-savvy moves show how Big Pharma can deflect attention if we adopt a strategy of shaming companies one-by-one. Yes, we should allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and Americans should be allowed to import medicine that is sold at the same quality but a lower price overseas. The fundamental problem is Big Pharma's abuse of monopoly power. We need executive action so we don't find ourselves in the same position with a different drug corporation next week.
The biggest thing President Obama can do is help break Big Pharma's monopoly power. The FDA controls whether companies can offer alternatives to products like EpiPens, and the National Institutes of Health can prevent new ones from being granted.10,11 It is long past time to start exercising this power to protect Americans, so we need President Obama to use his executive authority and act.
Congress has passed a series of laws since the 1980's granting exclusivity rights and monopoly power to pharmaceutical companies, on the theory that companies needed to recoup their research costs. But many of these companies outsourced that research and development to universities funded by public money.12 The EpiPen, which was developed for the armed forces as the "ComboPen," is only the latest example of Big Pharma profiting off of public investment.13
To make matters worse, Heather Bresch, the Mylan CEO who pocketed a massive pay increase while hiking prices, is the daughter of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.14 The cozy – or even family, in this case – relationships between those in power and big corporations is the reason outside pressure from CREDO members like you is so crucially important.
Tell President Obama: Rein in EpiPen price-gouging. Click below to sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out,
Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
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