EpiPen Maker Donated to Clinton Foundation, Hiked Prices-Truth! & Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
After Hillary Clinton condemned Mylan, the maker of EpiPens, for increasing prices of the life-saving devices by 400 percent since 2008, allegations that the price hikes were tied to Mylan’s Clinton Foundation donations went viral.
The Clinton Foundation once partnered Mylan, but the partnership didn’t have anything to do with EpiPens.
First, we’ll provide a little context. Mylan CEO Heather Bresch came under fire in August 2016 over her company increasing the price of EpiPens by 400 percent since 2008.
Hillary Clinton quickly condemned Mylan’s price hikes, calling them “outrageous” in an official campaign release
“That’s outrageous – and it’s just the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers. I believe that our pharmaceutical and biotech industries can be an incredible source of American innovation, giving us revolutionary treatments for debilitating diseases. But it’s wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them.
“That’s why I’ve put forward a plan to address exorbitant drug price hikes like these. As part of my plan, I’ve made clear that pharmaceutical manufacturers should be required to explain significant price increases, and prove that any additional costs are linked to additional patient benefits and better value. Since there is no apparent justification in this case, I am calling on Mylan to immediately reduce the price of EpiPens.
FOX Business News accused Clinton of crying crocodile tears about the price hikes in a segment, noting that Mylan had partnered with the Clinton Foundation shortly before the price hikes began. Other outlets picked up the story and showed a picture of Bill Clinton accepting a check from former Mylan CEO Robert Coury in about 2009.
Claims that the Clinton Foundation had directly benefits from the EpiPen price hikes, or had in some way shielded Mylan from scrutiny over it, immediately followed.
But there’s no proof that either of those things are true.
While it is true that the Clinton Foundation announced a partnership with Mylan in 2009 to make second-line antiretroviral (ARV) HIV/AIDS drugs more affordable, that partnership had nothing to do with EpiPens.
And the notion that Mylan would have needed protection from the Clinton Foundation to raise the price of EpiPens by 400 percent is wrong. As the New York Times reports, these types of price hikes are legal and common among drug companies:
Mylan, while not commenting on why it has repeatedly increased the price, says that most EpiPen users are insured and that the company offers a coupon that can reduce or cover the patient’s co-payments.
Such co-payment assistance is part of the standard playbook for companies selling expensive drugs: The goal is to spare the consumer, who might create a political uproar, and yet still get paid by the insurance company or government health program.
So, while it’s true that the Clinton Foundation once partnered with Mylan on HIV/AIDs drugs, there’s no proof that the partnership impacted EpiPen prices in any way. Bresch has been called to testify before a congressional panel.