Credo Action

Tell President Obama: Rein in EpiPen price-gouging

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Petition to President Obama:

"Exercise the full weight of your executive authority to direct the Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health to stop pharmaceutical monopolies from price-gouging Americans for life-saving medications like the EpiPen."

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    Tell President Obama: Rein in EpiPen price-gouging

    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.

    Tell President Obama: Rein in EpiPen price-gouging.

    CREDO members are no strangers to the fight against Big Pharma. By the tens of thousands, we demanded that the Federal Trade 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, Mylan has promised to 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.

    Tell President Obama: Rein in EpiPen price-gouging. Click here to sign the petition.

    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.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Dan Mangan, “EpiPen Maker Also Hiked Prices on a Slew of Other Medications,” CNBC, August 24, 2016.
    2. Diane Wadha, “The History of the EpiPen,” PeanutAllergy.com, January 8, 2014.
    3. Mangan, “EpiPen Maker Also Hiked Prices on a Slew of Other Medications.”
    4. David Dayen, “EpiPen Uproar Highlights Company’s Family Ties to Congress,” The Intercept, August 24, 2016.
    5. Cortney Drakeford, “Who Is Heather Bresch? Martin Shkreli Tweets Support For Mylan's EpiPen Price Hikes,” International Business Times, August 24, 2016.
    6. Carly Helfand, “FDA swats down Teva's EpiPen copy, putting Mylan in cruise control,” Fierce Pharma, March 1, 2016.
    7. Mangan, “EpiPen Maker Also Hiked Prices on a Slew of Other Medications.”
    8. Dayen, “EpiPen Uproar Highlights Company’s Family Ties to Congress."
    9. Joseph Walker et. al., “Mylan to Launch Cheaper Generic EpiPen Alternative,” The Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2016.
    10. Helfand, “FDA swats down Teva's EpiPen copy, putting Mylan in cruise control.”
    11. Letter to Secretary Burwell and Director Collins,” Doggett.House.Gov,
    12. Marcia Angell, “The Truth About the Drug Companies,” New York Review of Books, July 15 2004 issue.
    13. Wadha, “The History of the EpiPen.”
    14. Dayen, “EpiPen Uproar Highlights Company’s Family Ties to Congress.”