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EpiPens: All in the Family

EpiPens: All in the Family

Heather Bresch is daughter to Gayle Manchin, who helped get schools to purchase EpiPens

BY DAVID EPSTEIN

PROPUBLICA

If you notice the news and/or aren’t that guy in Plato’s favorite cave, you’ve probably already suffered rage-induced anaphylaxis while reading about the cool 600 percent price increase for EpiPens in recent years. In all the commotion about unaffordable lifesaving injections, however, you probably missed a USA Today story explaining how Mylan Specialty, the maker of EpiPen, developed “a near monopoly in school nurses’ offices.” Here are your three Ws:

What?

USA Today reports that, in 2012, Gayle Manchin became head of the nonprofit National Association of State Boards of Education, and “spearheaded an unprecedented effort” to make schools purchase emergency treatments for allergic reactions. Manchin’s efforts were rewarded; 11 states created laws to require epinephrine auto-injectors (i.e. EpiPens) in schools, and other states recommended schools get them.

And we’re using the strong form of “recommend” here, since the 2013 “EpiPen Law,” as the White House called it, gave funding preference to schools stocking EpiPens. So this is the kind of “recommend” like when you’re playing make-believe and making “vroom” sounds on that Harley parked outside a bar and someone burly walks out and recommends you stop doing that.

What’s wrong?

Good question. Seems totally reasonable for schools to have emergency treatments handy. Did I mention that the CEO of Mylan is Heather Bresch? Did I mention that her maiden name is Heather Manchin? Did I mention that Gayle Manchin, who helped get schools to purchase EpiPens gave birth to Heather Manchin who runs the company that profits when schools purchase EpiPens? (Oh and Gayle’s husband and Heather’s dad is Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.) USA Today mentioned all of that stuff. This might take supportive parenting to a heretofore unseen plane of existence.

What now?

According to The Guardian, Bresch appeared before Congress as part of an investigation of the price hikes, and said that the company “never intended” for EpiPens to become so expensive. Such a pain; it’s like you can’t even leave drugs alone for a second without them hiking their own prices. From now on, drugs, you will heed our intentions or go to your room.

They said it

Mylan will “take our punches, they’ll fly back to their mansions in their private jets and laugh all the way to the bank while our constituents suffer, file for bankruptcy, and watch their children get sicker, and in some cases die.” – Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, giving his thoughts on how effective the Congressional grilling would be.

ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. It has been the winner of two Pulitzer prizes, including the first awarded to an online news organization. Its work can be found at propublica.org

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The following two tabs change content below.
Albuquerque’s definitive alternative newspaper publishing an inquisitive, modern approach to the news and entertainment stories that matter most to New Mexicans. ABQ Free Press’ fresh voice speaks to insightful and involved professionals who care deeply about our community.