Exorbitant Prices Are Just One Reason to Loathe the Company That Makes the EpiPen

Oliver Stanley | Quartz | August 24, 2016

It’s not hard for pharma companies to appear villainous, but Mylan, the maker of the EpiPen, may be in a class by itself. Mylan has drawn the ire of patients, consumer groups and now Congress for raising the price of the device 400% since it acquired EpiPen in 2007. The implement, which delivers life-saving medicine for severe allergy sufferers, can now cost more than $300 per pen. It’s only sold in pairs and must be purchased every year because the drug, epinephrine, loses potency over time. Sales of EpiPen are now in excess of $1 billion annually.

Asked for comment, Myan referred to a statement on its website explaining the problem with the EpiPen isn’t its cost, but the high deductible of many people’s health insurance plans. The company also provides coupons that reduce the cost by $100.
But repeatedly raising the price on the device reflects an aggressive corporate culture at a company that doesn’t mind making enemies.

In 2014, Mylan purchased the generics business of Abbott Laboratories, which allowed the Pennsylvania company to shift its corporate headquarters to the Netherlands, cutting its tax bill. That tax “inversion” drew the ire of President Obama, who criticized Mylan and other companies as unpatriotic. Mylan executive chairman Robert Coury, 55, fired back in an op-ed in USA Today, saying it was the equivalent of calling Americans who buy foreign products unpatriotic. With head-scratching logic, he pointed out that many antibiotics are no longer made in the US...