The $600 EpiPen Just Got A New Competitor–A Version Invented By A Pharmacist For About 20 Bucks
By now you’ve surely heard of the notorious EpiPen and the even more notorious manufacturer, pharmaceutical company Mylan. The story of what this company and their CEO Heather Bresch did to generate more profits on the epinephrine auto-injector is of course odious–and at the same time completely in keeping with the way modern crony capitalism works.
However their greed may come around to bite them in the ass, thanks to an unlikely source of competition: a creative pharmacist.
A little history: The thing that people like to call “the free market” does not exist any longer, if it ever did, as is well-demonstrated by Mylan’s EpiPen saga. After buying the company that made the EpiPen predecessor and patenting the delivery system–and enlisting the FDA to repeatedly throw up roadblocks to other companies that wanted to compete–Mylan lobbied to pass a law requiring the life-saving devices be required in every school in the country.
Of course, all of the above efforts would not have been possible without a nice boost from CEO Bresch’s father, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) who pushed President Obama into signing the law and is thought to have pressured the FDA to clear the way for Mylan’s monopoly.
The rest of course, you know: the company decided to hike the price 600 percent, to nearly $600 for a pair of them, leaving families who rely on keeping the device around in case a child has an allergic reaction at a loss.
Enter pharmacist Jerry Counts, of Blacksburg, Virginia. He owns Main Street Pharmacy there, and is currently buying epinephrine in bulk–which is not protected by the shady and underhanded use of patent law–and he is preloading them into regular syringes for families and individuals in need.
And the kicker is he’s selling them for around $20, with next to no profit for himself.
“I mean, it was ridiculous,” he said. “I was having people come in and they were, well, what am I going to do?”
Keep in mind, there is solid logic behind having an easy-to-use epinephrine device available in schools and other places: kids and adults with allergies can suffer anaphylaxis when they have an attack, resulting in their airways suddenly constricting.
Epinephrine saves lives.
Unfortunately, the millions of dollars annually Mylan was already making before the obscene price hike just wasn’t enough for the likes of Bresch and her cronies on the board and their stockholders.
Here’s hoping that more pharmacists like Jerry Counts will take the initiative and show these people what is really important in life.
And here’s hoping that CEO Heather Bresch chokes on the $18 million raise she just got–and that there’s no one around to help open her airways.