Amid anger over a price spike in life-saving EpiPens, NBC News revealed that the pharmaceutical executive that oversaw the jump from an average wholesale price of $56.64 to a high of $317.82 in August 2016 was granted an astronomical pay raise along with a promotion.
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch was paid total compensation of $2,453,456 in 2007, according to a proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2015, Bresch was compensated a total of $18,931,068. However, as those documents note, Bresch was promoted from president to chief executive during the years in question.
Mylan purchased the EpiPen from Merck in 2007. Each pen, which are sold in packs of two, contains about $1 worth of epinephrine. The medication is life-saving in the event of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
EpiPens carry pre-measured doses of epinephrine, which are easily delivered when the patient or a bystander presses the pen down on the outer mid-thigh and releases the medication. The medication helps counteract a severe reaction until a patient can reach a hospital. Such reactions can cause life-threatening symptoms include swelling that obstructs the airway.
The pricing increase has generated enough public outrage to spur Sen. Amy Klobuchar to ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the company has “violated the antitrust laws regarding the sale of its epinephrine auto-injector, EpiPen.”
The uproar over the EpiPen’s price increase have reached a peak as parents scramble to prepare their children to return to school, and thanks to Mylan’s marketing and lobbying efforts, EpiPens are virtually synonymous with epinephrine auto-injectors. Mylan is the sole supplier of the brand.