Editorializing About EpiPens
News outlets offer a variety of perspectives on the ongoing EpiPen pricing flap.
Los Angeles Times:
EpiPen Price Gouging Demonstrates Need For More Competition In Generic Drugs
Healthcare reformers are pushing insurers and government health programs to tie payments for drugs based on the value they provide to a patient and the healthcare system as a whole. That shift could generate competition between different drugs, rather than just different manufacturers of the same compound. ... Those efforts could prove crucial in the struggle to slow the growth in healthcare costs. Some critics of the pharmaceutical industry have called for more dramatic — and potentially more disruptive — steps, including government price controls and taxes on windfall profits. Before lawmakers even consider going that far, however, they should do more to bring market forces to bear on drug monopolists. Huge price increases should be sending an irresistible invitation to entrepreneurial companies to come in with a competing product. (8/26)
To Prevent Another EpiPen Controversy, The Government Should Step In
Mylan Pharmaceuticals is at the center of a firestorm of criticism over dramatic price hikes for its lifesaving EpiPen. The problem, says Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, is a broken health system that has let deductibles and copays skyrocket on many insurance policies. ...The real problem isn’t with insurance design. It is lax regulatory oversight that doesn’t ensure an adequate supply of drugs critical to population health and opens the door to shocking price increases. (Dana Goldman, 8/26)
Of Course EpiPens Cost $300
Charging $300 for an EpiPen makes perfect sense in the health care world we live in. In our free-market system, you can charge whatever you want for your product. A hospital can charge $50 for an aspirin, or $53 for a pair of latex gloves. You can even charge a family $15,000 a year for health insurance. If you don't have insurance and need emergency care, however, don't be surprised if the hospital charges you 10 times the actual cost of treating you. That's because you didn't negotiate the prices in advance the way insurance companies do. (Chris Tomlinson, 8/26)
The Wall Street Journal:
Dear EpiPen Customers . . .
To whom it may concern: As the CEO of Mylan, maker of the world-famous EpiPen, it gives me great pleasure to address you, via email from an undisclosed location, concerning the pricing of our product. As you may know, my father is a U.S. senator from West Virginia, where the state motto is “Montani semper liberi.” It means “mountaineers are always free.” Indeed, they are. But pharmaceuticals aren’t—especially EpiPen. (Holman W. Jenkins, 8/26)