This year's worldwide recall of defective EpiPens has put people with severe allergies on alert. And now allergy sufferers have even more reasons to worry. Faulty EpiPens have been cited in the deaths of at least seven Americans so far this year, according to FDA reports that have only been made public this week.
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For people with severe allergies, having an EpiPen can mean the difference between life and death. Because there's no generic alternative, EpiPen manufacturer Mylan just keeps jacking up the price and ripping off patients. They also seem to have ripped off the US government. Today, a probe by the US Department of Health and Human Services concluded that the company actually stiffed American taxpayers for three times more than was previously believed.
People around the world depend on their EpiPen to work in the case of life-threatening allergic reactions. But two people recently found out the hard way that their EpiPens were faulty. As a result, the makers of EpiPen are recalling over 81,000 EpiPens in Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Japan.
Mylan, the drug company that makes EpiPens, has been overcharging Medicare and Medicaid in the US for years. But today the pharmaceutical company had to finally pay the piper. In a deal announced by the notorious price-gougers, Mylan will hand over $US465 million ($611.8 million) to the US government, but it won't have to admit any wrongdoing.
The US government spent over $US1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) on EpiPens from 2011 to 2015. But Mylan, the makers of EpiPen, has been overcharging the government for the life-saving allergy medication by misclassifying it as a generic, rather than a name brand drug. If you don't know whether to laugh or cry at this point, you're not alone.
Two weeks ago, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch got up in front of Congress and lied about how much profit the pharmaceutical company makes on the EpiPen. And Congress is pissed.
Last week, Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, testified in front of the US Congress about why the company has raised the price of EpiPen from roughly $US57 ($75) in 2007 to $US600 ($785) in the US today. (EpiPens are subsidised in Australia and typically under $100). Under intense questioning, she claimed that the company only makes about $US100 ($131) per two-pack of EpiPens. Today the company was forced to "clarify" that the price was actually higher. They make $US160 ($209).
Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the makers of the EpiPen, spent the past decade making sure that its life-saving allergy product was in as many US public schools as possible. But the company has come under fire in recent weeks for raising the price of the drug from roughly $US57 ($75) in 2007 to about $US600 ($791) today -- all for about $1 worth of medicine. Now the New York Attorney General's Office is investigating whether Mylan broke antitrust laws in the contracts it made with schools.
Sarah Jessica Parker has cut ties with Mylan, the company that makes EpiPen, after it was criticised for raising the price of the life-saving allergy product by 400 per cent. Parker announced her decision last night on Instagram.
EpiPen, the life-saving allergy product, is now a $US1 billion ($1.3 billion) a year business for Mylan, a drug company that's currently enduring a wave of bad publicity over the extraordinary surge in US EpiPen pricing. In 2007, an EpiPen in the US cost about $US57 ($75). Today that price has skyrocketed to over $US600 ($787) -- all for about $1 worth of injectable medicine.