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Nicole Rodriguez

Prof. Eng

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MGMT 3080

8 December 2017

The
EpiPen Scandal

When
people have serious allergic reactions to insect stings, bites, foods, drugs,
or other substances the medication to go to is the EpiPen. The injectable
EpiPen contains epinephrine, a substance that narrows blood vessels and opens
airways in the lungs. These effects can undo low blood pressure, wheeziness,
hives, and plenty of other symptoms of an allergic reaction. This medication
has been around for more than a century. And the pen that supplies the
treatment has been around since the 1970s. It was actually developed for the
military. Since 2007, the fee for a two-pack has gone up from $93.88 to
$608.61, an increase of more than 500%. For many having this medication is a
life or death situation. This is where our scandal begins.

The
EpiPen is a modern drug facing drug-pricing pressure. The price swelled about
500% in 2007 to 2016. This new price has made it extremely difficult for people
who are reliant on the drug, to have access it. The new price tag of this
medication is due to a company called Mylan Pharmaceuticals. They attained
patent rights to the medication in 2007. Since then Mylan began to increase the
price of the Epipen. This price increase came without any new formula or
changes to the medication. The company became in control because they only sold
the EpiPen, so they were able to put any price on it.  The CEO, Heather Bresch, started in 2012, and
claims any raise in price on her part was people aware of the medication. Mylan CEO’s Pay Rose Over 600 Percent as EpiPen Price
Rose 400 Percent.

The bad
activity was performed by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, by their actions of hiking up
the prices. It is unethical to unreasonably increase prices of medication that
can save a life. They are blameworthy of manipulating and exploiting their consumers
to make as much capital as possible. EpiPen’s producer has continued to boost
the price of a two-pack throughout the years. The abruptly higher price leave
parents baffled because they can’t afford it. Many patients rely
on this medication to keep them well. When pharmaceutical companies face no opposition in the
market they have the authority to set any price, then patients will pay extra
for insurance. This is called price gouging – no matter what kind of
insurance they have. Mylan is mainly to blame for this unethical situation, and
some might say the government because they did not set any price controls. And
the government has only recently begun to have hearings for the company.

Mylan
tried to take good actions after the public caused commotion over the cost of this
once affordable medication.  The company
sprung the epipen4schools program. A disadvantage to this program was that
schools could only qualify for the discount if they settled to buy the product
from only them. This made Epipen the only FDA accepted medication available in schools.

The EpiPen sold to schools is $112.10. For most that price was still way too
high, but they are forced to purchase them.

Consequently,
the public was harmed. Many couldn’t afford to buy the medication for
themselves or their children. Even if they could afford just one pack, it
really wouldn’t be enough for the rest of their lives, because medication does
expire, get lost, or break. The price increase put a lot of people in danger from
allergic reactions. Everyday most people are at risk of having an allergic
reaction to something. Mylan put many in risk, or have even brought people to
their deaths. Most live in fear for themselves or their children because they can’t
afford to protect them from severe allergic reactions.

Ultimately,
the bad activity could have been prevented. There was no real reason to spike
up prices. Mylan could have left the price to $100, but they wanted to gain
more for themselves financially. People would have been okay with paying $100
so they and their children can live safely. Mylan gave no valid reason for the
price hike. The government should have been more involved in price controls, it
would help keep the price on live-saving medication down. The EpiPens price was
also due to lack of competition, so more competition would have made a
reasonable price. 

Not much
has been done to alleviate this bad situation. CEO, Heather Bresch has not
necessarily committed any crimes nothing can legally be done. There have been
many hearings no charges have been made against the company. The company is
hard to charge because of their intense lobbying. The company still holds
control, but have released a generic brand that is still unaffordable. It has
left many baffled.

So how
does this scandal connect to our class and textbook?

In Chapter
3—Business Power (pg 64), the dominance theory states that business is the most
powerful institution in society, because of its control of wealth. This power
is inadequately checked and, consequently, excessive. In the case of Mylan it
wasn’t until 2016 did they have a hearing for the company. Even after the
investigation they weren’t charged for anything, so this allowed them to
continue maximizing their profits. They dominant the pharmaceutical arena and
no one has been able to “put them in check,” because of this they are able to
charge at any price. Mylan’s wealth easily demonstrates how big businesses can
be in control of society. They leave no choice for consumers, but to pay the
ridiculous amount. Sometimes Big businesses have little regard for their
consumers when they command in the business realm.

In Chapter 8—Making Ethical Decisions in Business (pg
241), we are introduced to Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of the categorical
imperative, “act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time
will that it should become a universal law.” Which means to act as you would
want all other people to act towards all other people. If all businesses
trailed the actions of Mylan nothing would be reasonably affordable. Under this
philosophy Mylan shouldn’t have created those prices unless they were willing
to be treated the same. This code of conduct would keep companies in check,
because they wouldn’t want their medication, that is essential for living, to
be at an outrageous price.

In Chapter 9—Business in Politics (pg 275) “Business
seeks and exercises political power in a government that is extraordinarily
open to influence. Its power is exercised on constitutional terrain created by
the Founding Fathers more than 200 years ago.” Its no secret that the
government is easily manipulated by capital. This relates to our scandal
because the CEO of Mylan had pawns in the government. With 600% profits it easy
for her to influence the administration. That is why it has been hard to charge
her for anything.  Furthermore, this ties
in to Chapter 9 Business in Politics (pg 289), the textbook shares that “lobbyists
often meet with a legislator’s staff or committee staff. They testify at
rule-making hearings in agencies and legislative hearings in the House and
Senate.” During subcommittee sessions when bills are assembled, it is not unusual
for them to hook a “legislator’s eye and give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down signal
as amendments come to a vote.” Lobbying is just one way the business has disbursed
millions of dollars developing the Epipen since it attained the patent in 2007,
according to Kaiser, the company enhanced lobbyists in 36 states between 2010
and 2014. They exhausted more than 1.3 million lobbying in 16 states since
2010. Meanwhile, 10 states have passed laws requiring epinephrine in schools and
another 38 states have passed laws permitting them according to the advocacy
group food allergy research and education. They have so much wealth, they can even
influence society. They are forcing schools and political influencers to
strictly endorse them.

The company’s price hikes on a life-saving drug is
unethical. There
needs to be more competition, more choices, and lower costs. This scandal is a
delicate one because people can’t simply boycott a medication they need. It is
up to the business to act ethically, or the government to step in and set price
controls immediately. Something must give in, so that people can live safely.

 

 

Work Cited

Kiersz,
Lydia Ramsey and Andy. “An EpiPen is 500% more expensive than it was in 2007 –
here’s how that happened.” Business Insider, Business
Insider, 24 Aug. 2016, www.businessinsider.com/epipen-price-increases-2016-8.

Popken,
Ben. “Mylan CEO’s Pay Rose Over 600 Percent as EpiPen Price Rose 400
Percent.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 23 Aug.

2016,
www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/mylan-execs-gave-themselves-raises-they-hiked-epipen-prices-n636591.

 

 

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