Right Hooks

Who Spiked the EpiPen?

The FDA, not the free market, is to blame for the EpiPen price increase.

Thomas Gallatin · Aug. 25, 2016

Teddy Roosevelt the Trust Buster must be rolling in his grave over news of the recent spike in the price of the life-saving EpiPen. Mylan, the drug company that produces the popular treatment for severe allergic reactions, has steadily raised the price of the device by over 400% since 2008. A double pack of the device cost $100 in 2008, but will now set you back more than $600. The EpiPen has been around since the 1970s and has a low production cost, but due to the lack of competition Mylan has effectively cornered the market and taken advantage by increasing the price exponentially. The fault lies not with other companies attempting to compete, but with Food and Drug Administration regulations. As The Wall Street Journal notes, “The FDA maintains no clear and consistent principles for generic drug-delivery devices.” As a result, competing drug companies have no standard by which to measure drug-delivery system compliance when seeking to produce a similar product. Effectively, the FDA has helped to secure Mylan’s monopoly on the EpiPen.

Hillary Clinton recently waded into the matter, saying she would require all drug makers to “prove that any additional costs are linked to additional patient benefits and better value.” Once again, Hillary’s socialist instincts have missed the mark — more regulations or price controls won’t work. Clinton conveniently blames “Big Pharma,” side stepping the real issue of government over-regulation in order to push for even more government involvement in and control of health care.

There is one other interesting angle to this story. Mylan’s CEO is Heather Bresch, who is the daughter of West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin. Manchin has been somewhat hesitant to give his full support to Hillary’s run for the White House, as she is no friend of his state’s coal industry. It’s a good bet that Hillary’s calling out of Mylan is more than just politically pandering — it could be a shot across the bow warning Manchin to stay in line.

Update: Mylan announced it will make a generic version of the EpiPen, but the problem is, they’re still the only provider.

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