Naturally it didn't take long for prominent leftists to pounce on this news.
EpiPens can be the difference between life and death. There's no justification for these price hikes. https://t.co/O6RbVR6Qim -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 24, 2016
Is it such a moral outrage, Mrs. Clinton, that you're willing to return Mylan's donations to the Clinton Foundation? Yeah, color me skeptical.
There's no reason an EpiPen, which costs Mylan just a few dollars to make, should cost families more than $600. https://t.co/rVWUlMxD0Q— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 18, 2016
Right? Perhaps you can show those evil capitalists a thing or two, Bern, by forgoing the purchase of your third house (a $600,000 lake home) and instead buy 1,000 EpiPens to give to those in need.
Alas, blaming this enormous hike on a capitalistic system makes for a good chanting point but leaves little room for a nuanced discussion.
What is usually left out in any anti-capitalist blather written in response to this controversy is an accurate depiction of how free markets actually work.
In what other markets can a business jack up its prices without alienating its customers and pushing them toward competitors? Answer: when that market has no other competitors. Emily Willingham of Forbes explained it aptly with a recent article titled, “Why Did Mylan Hike EpiPen Prices 400%? Because They Could.”
In early 2016, Sanofi, Mylan’s primary competitor, discontinued its line of Auvi-Q auto-injectors, similar to Mylan’s product. With Auvi-Q out the picture, Mylan gained 98 market share of epinephrine injectors.
But surely a new business will take advantage of this public relations debacle, enter the market, and offer a more affordable option, right?
Unfortunately – and as no surprise to libertarians and free market advocates – federal regulators continue to buffer the padding that surrounds Mylan’s monopoly. Shortly after the Auvi-Q recall, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries pitched a generic version of the EpiPen. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) squashed their efforts, citing “major deficiencies” in their application. Teva plans to appeal the decision, but won’t be able to effectively move forward until 2017 at the earliest.
Teva isn’t alone in this struggle. Windgap Medical, a Boston startup, and Adamis, a small biotech firm based in San Diego, have both struggled to bypass FDA’s barriers of entry in the marketplace as well.
You see, it's "progressives" who are all for big government, which includes bureaucratic red tape and burdensome regulations. Yet when the results of "progressive" policies invariably lead to the type of "price gouging" put forth by Mylan, leftist politicians like Sen.
If forced to speak in front of a Congressional panel and asked what inspired this price hike, (Mylan CEO Heather) Bresch and company should be encouraged to hold up a mirror to lawmakers’ faces.