Recently, Cigna announced that they are no longer covering Mylan’s EpiPen, CVS Pharmacy announced a low cost generic alternative, Adrenaclick, an epinephrine device with a price point at 1/6 the cost of an EpiPen, and Auvi-Q announced that they are returning to market in February.
Last week, I appeared on FOX Business to discuss all of this, as well as the impact that the Trump Presidency might have on drug pricing. In the segment, we also discussed the market makers and middle men that help to secure Mylan’s revenue model.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to my inbox. A PR reached out to me from Mylan Pharmaceuticals. FOX Business has been trying to reach them to no avail. I’ve been a voice in this space for over a decade. What struck me is that the day before, Auvi-Q announced that it was returning to the market on Valentine’s Day.
What had once been a monopoly suddenly wasn’t, and from Cigna to CVS Pharmacy to Adrenaclick to Auvi-Q, Mylan now faces some serious competition. They can no longer hide.
So in order to give Mylan’s PR people an idea of what consumers are saying, I reached out to our online community for feedback. Perhaps the most heart wrenching was from a mom who just lost her son over Thanksgiving. Two EpiPen devices were not enough to save his life. It was too late.
Here are some honest and heartfelt messages from consumers (we did not include those laced with profanity), not just for Mylan, but for all who are providing life-saving devices to our families:
- They failed the people they were supposed to help. ~Jennifer
- They victimized already suffering families. ~Kelly
- I just checked prices via my insurance unit d healthcare and all my options seen 370 per two pack or more. I see no change from last year. I would like them to lower their price will all insurance programs to a reasonable price considering I have to buy 4 2 packs (2 kids and 2 schools) ~Colleen
- I’ll be going to CVS for their generic, priced at 1/6 the price of the actual Epipen today, and will never again support Mylan as long as Heather Bresch is CEO. ~Cindy
- One question: Why haven’t they dropped the price? We all know the answer to that question is greed, but I’d be interested to hear their answer anyway. ~Joe
- Too little too late. Maybe they should think next time before gouging families for life saving medications. We will never see that money that we were overcharged. Shameful! ~Barbara
- Your corporate culture of arrogance is finally catching up with you.. ~Amanda
- Ask them where we sign up for refunds for past overpriced purchases? Last year my out of pocket was $1300 with the coupons and those expire this month. ~Jen
- I’m on an insane High ded plan aka catastrophy insurance but pay premiums like it’s a real plan. LOL. $8K family deductible. Epis aren’t my only issue here but for something you HAVE to buy EVERY year and multiple packs to cover school, off site after school, dads house, etc. it’s insane. I’ve had to split packs at school and pray they grab someone else’s if they need a second pop. ~Jen
- Please ask how they arrive at pricing, both for brand and generic, as well as pediatric and adult dose. I am referring specifically to the insanity we spoke of a couple weeks ago,whereby my insurance company paid the most for the pediatric generic epinephrine. ~Valerie
- Today’s consumers are not as stupid as you take them to be. ~Nina
- Please tell them what goes around…comes around. Do the right thing when it comes to pricing in relation to profits. Care about the individuals who are dependent on your products for their health—especially the children. ~Kerry
- How can we work together for the greater good, which will increase your bottom line when you give value to people.
- That’s if they care about people ~Liz
- Apologies would be a good start. ~Alison
- No thanks. ~Amy
- That it’s too little too late and we are moving on to other devices that we can afford, from companies that did not play with our children’s lives for profit. ~Susie
- It’s hard to decide what to tell them. They betrayed the trust of the consumers who need life saving medication. I am struggling to gather questions or thoughts on what to tell them. ~Pamela
- Epinephrine is a life saving medication. Deliberately making it into a business money maker took this critical medication out of the hands of those that needed immediate access to it. Trust lost is hard to regain. ~ Ann Marie
- Please tell Mylan that the voice of the consumer has been heard. ~Jayne
- I just yesterday tried to fill my EpiPen prescription at CVS and even WITH the $300 coupon, my out of pocket cost would’ve still been over $300.
- I have commercial health insurance with United Healthcare. Luckily I was at CVS and was able to get the generic alternative for $110 (for two pens.) ~Jennifer
- That they should be ashamed for price gouging food allergy families. For taking advantage of our fears of losing our children to anaphylaxis. For not coming up with a way to truly make epinephrine available and affordable to everyone who needs one prior to being “caught.” For not being the leader of taking on the PBMs to help fix healthcare. For doing nothing to bring a more updated, innovative epinephrine device to food allergy families that is smaller and more user friendly. They chose profits over our children and we are mad. ~Elizabeth
- They don’t want a cure for us. Then they’d lose their “baby”. Everything is a show. They took advantage of a vulnerable group though, and so the cat is out of the bag that they have no ethics. Yes, they are for profit. But they abused us and everyone knows it! Their image is almost beyond repair. And now that there are multiple options available, including Auvi-Q which totally blows them out of the water, they know they are going to sink. ~Jillian
- The Edwards brothers are putting them to shame. The irony is their Auvi-Q brand is going to end up being all about TRUST. Something Mylan took for granted. That is very difficult to gain back. They have to work for it. Actions speak louder than words. They have proven that they only care about lining their pockets. Probably the only thing they can do to even begin to salvage any kind of respect and trust is for Heather Bresch to step down, and appoint someone that really cares. ~Jill
- That now that there are more choices on the market, we will CHOOSE to go with companies that have better business ethics and actually see their customers as real people and not just profit centers. ~Marina
- They should refund the difference between what they charged and what Audi-Q is charging directly to the families that paid their outrageous prices to save their children. ~Paul
- Ask them how much they have paid to pharmacy benefits managers in deals and kickbacks to ensure that EpiPen (or its generic) is the only EAI listed or the preferred EAI listed on national/large formularies. Ask them to outline how’s these deals are negotiated. Ask to see the contracts. ~Leading pediatric allergist
- I am so angry and saddened that it wasn’t enough to make a profit (as they should), but making a huge profit and then an even BIGGER profit was the modus operandi here, all at the expense of families who just want to keep their allergic loved ones alive! Heather Bresch’s greed preyed upon families’ fears and that is not ok. We’re not talking about a drug like Viagra (which is covered by Medicare BTW…). Epinpeherine is the only thing that will stop death for those in anaphylaxis. ~Elizabeth
- I’d like them to feel the pain of what I’ve been through as a food allergy parent for 18 years. And the financial burden they’ve put on families who are already struggling enough. And tell them I’m glad Auvi-Q is back, hard as Mylan might’ve tried to get rid of them. ~Donna
- We were forced to miss house/car payments, not buy groceries, not even be able to afford the expensive allergen safe foods for our daughter.
- I want to know -why do they value their $ over so many people’s lives? Why instead of taking a pay cut did they let so many employees go ? ? ? Right before Christmas?
- (Obviously more questions than things to tell them. Personally, if I had the chance to say anything to them it wouldn’t be too nice )
- You are cruel, selfish bastards. I hope you make peace with God someday, because until you do you, you have a very hot seat next to the devil.
- You are in a position that is paid to help people, instead you paid yourselves to willingly put lives at risk. Day after day you woke up and made that choice. ~Jennie
And one more for good measure:
I have 2 daughters who require an epi-pen due to peanut allergies. My older daughter uses the adult dosage, while my younger daughter requires the pediatric, or ‘junior’ version.
During the course of my discussion with my mail in pharmacy regarding the price difference between adult and junior pens, as well as the LACK of a difference in consumer price between the generic and name brand (both of which are manufactured by Mylan, by the way) I was told that my pharmacy’s cost for the epi-pen, epi-pen Jr and the generic equivalents are as follows:
Epi-pen Jr. $613.48
No, that is not a typo. The generic junior costs my pharmacy almost $500 more AND is, in fact more than the brand version.
My cost as the consumer is considerably less, however, I am still paying more for my younger daughter than my older one, and my cost is the same, whether I choose the generic or the name brand.
Clearly Mylan has failed to live up to their promise of a less expensive generic version and is continuing their very shady business practice. Despite numerous attempts, I was unable to speak with anyone at Mylan who could provide an answer as to the price discrepancy.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I am absolutely livid!