- Mylan's quiet, incremental EpiPen price increases, which have raised the cost of a two-pack more than 500% over the last six years to more than $600, ceased to fly under the radar this summer and were elevated to a national news scandal through the power of social media, The New York Times reported.
- Social media movements resulted in a petition that drew more than 80,000 signatures and more than 121,000 letters to Congress in 45 days, which took notice, as well as garnered widespread media coverage.
- Due to the attention, Mylan has found itself not only serving as the latest target for anger at the pharma industry, but facing real scrutiny as public figures including Hillary Clinton join impacted families in calling on Mylan to lower its prices.
The incident highlights the power of consumers and social media, illustrating how they can pack a real and swift punch even without the leadership or backing of any official advocacy organization. As noted by the Times, all the most prominent allergy related groups have partnerships with Mylan and had publicly been quiet on the issue.
The company appears to have caught attention by continuing to hike the price over the years even as consumers have been forced to pay a higher share of the cost due to rising deductibles and co-payments. Parent-activists said they took notice while making their annual purchases of new EpiPens to store at their children's summer camps and schools, and felt they had hit a breaking point, particularly those paying for multiple sets for different family members to store in different locations.
STAT suggested Mylan CEO Heather Bresch stands to serve as the latest "target du jour" based on a formula involving a substantial price hike; a compelling patient story; a controversial and highly compensated CEO; and attention from the political world and the media, particularly during this election cycle.
The company announced Monday plans to launch a generic version of the EpiPen with a list price of $300 per two-pack carton.