Heather Bresch, Joe Manchin’s Daughter, Played Direct Part in EpiPen Price Inflation Scandal
A new email shows the former Mylan CEO worked with her counterpart at Pfizer to corner the market and keep costs up.
The documents also show Bresch approving a scheme to force customers, captured by the company’s monopoly, to purchase two EpiPens at once, regardless of medical need. The EpiPen is an auto-injectable device that injects epinephrine into the body and can be the difference between life or death for a person suffering a severe allergic reaction. (...)
Among the documents is an email sent on behalf of Bresch, who is the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to her counterpart at Pfizer, then-CEO Ian Read. In the email, sent in January 2011, Bresch confirms a previous discussion with Read in which she says that the two agreed that as part of a deal, Pfizer would disinvest from its EpiPen competitor, Adrenaclick. Eliminating its main competitor would then allow Mylan to continue raising its prices. (...)
Following the deal with Pfizer, Mylan drove the price above $600 within five years. Meanwhile, Gayle Manchin, Bresch’s mother, lobbied states to require schools to stock epinephrine as the head of the National Association of State Boards of Education. Gayle Manchin was recently confirmed to serve as co-chair of the federal Appalachian Regional Commission, a government agency tasked with promoting economic development across the region’s 13 states.
Cutting a deal with Pfizer to divest from its competitor may be brazen enough, but to memorialize the agreement in an email produces a startling window into the ways in which corporate executives are able to manipulate markets.(...)
With the monopoly locked down, Mylan made its next move, a plan to eliminate its single-pack EpiPen in the United States and instead require customers to purchase two pens at once. (...) The two schemes were separate but mutually reinforcing. (...) The company also conducted market research and concluded that since it was a matter of life and death, customers would suck it up and buy two pens if that was the only choice. (...)
Bresch had been named chief operating officer of Mylan in October 2007, a promotion that immediately sparked a scandal when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that her claim of having a master’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University was false. Bresch’s father Manchin was the state’s governor at the time, and the school soon corrected the paper, saying that she had indeed obtained the degree. A subsequent investigation concluded that the initial answer had been right: Bresch had been far short of a degree, and university administrators fabricated grades to get her over the line, leading to multiple resignations from the university’s senior leadership. Manchin was elected to the Senate in 2012.
Manchin last week urged Democrats to take a “strategic pause” in consideration of the party’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, the centerpiece of the Biden agenda. A key component of the bill would lower drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies. That market power would save the government and patients billions over the next decade, but perhaps even more importantly, it would give the government greater insight into how pharmaceutical executives set prices. The change could reveal the type of collusion that keeps those rates high, exposing companies to risk of regulation or prosecution.
Manchins Dirty Empire: