HOUSTON — Pharmaceutical company Mylan has found itself at the wrong end of a class-action lawsuit.
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch testifies before Congress on September 21. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Mylan is being sued by customers who feel as though they’ve been exploited by the company’s dramatic price increase for their EpiPen products. These consumers are being represented by the Lanier Law Firm and Sharp Law.
Mylan obtained the rights to sell the EpiPen in 2007, back when they were only charging $57 per unit. In the nine years since they started selling this product, things have changed dramatically. The current price for a Mylan EpiPen is now over $600. This is alarming in many ways, but it is especially startling because experts within the pharmaceutical industry have claimed that this type of injector can be manufactured for less than $30.
Of course, these colossal increases in price are extremely relevant because they occur within an industry that greatly affects the daily lives of its consumers. Reagan E. Bradford, an attorney at the Lanier Law Firm who specializes in commercial litigation, echoed this sentiment when speaking on the Mylan Lawsuit. “It’s just unadulterated greed, and this example with the EpiPen is probably the most egregious because you literally have the lives of children at stake. They’re exploiting that, and what parent wouldn’t pay whatever it takes to make sure they can keep their kid alive?” Bradford told the Louisiana Record.
With the progression of pharmaceutical class-action lawsuits, it’s also important to try and figure out how the government will address these price hikes through legislation. “Lawsuit like ours will address the sins of the past but the regulators are keyed in," Bradford said. "Congress is very focused on this, and even the president has commented on the need for regulatory oversight on pricing, so I think that’s inevitable. It does seem true that in congruence with this Mylan lawsuit, the general public has become much more aware of just how greedy the health care industry has become in some respects."
No matter how greedy companies such as Mylan can get, they usually receive some type of assistance from a government agency. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bradford said, has certainly had a hand in enabling Mylan in their attempt to eliminate competitors who offer more affordable options. “What we see is that Mylan was lobbying the FDA to not approve a generic competitor," he said. "The FDA needs to take a look at what the economic interests are of the companies that are trying to keep cheaper products from coming into the market. Are they moving swiftly enough and are they allowing corporate drug companies like Mylan to influence their decision process too much?"
Bradford’s comment provide some much needed substantive detail that explains the evolution of these price increases. Companies such as Mylan become so powerful that they have the funds necessary to corrupt a health care market that is supposed to be fair and competitive. Their CEO, Heather Bresch, has been tasked with defending the company throughout their various legal battles as of late.
Mylan’s media department did not immediately respond to the Louisiana Record’s request for comment.