( Please sing along to the tune of the theme song of The Beverly Hillbillies) “Come listen to a story about a gal named Heather/A poor CEO barely kept her company fed/And then one day she was looking for corporate honey/ And up from the EpiPen came some bubbling money/Epinephrine/Medication gold/Loathsome lucre/Well, first thing you know ol’ Heather’s a multimillionaire/Wall Street said, “Mylan move away from there”/Said that the United Kingdom is the place you ought to be/So she loaded up the company and tax inverted to Carnaby/Street that is/Bobbies on bicycles/Less taxes/More profit.”
Unless you have been boycotting television to avoid The Donald and Hillary show, by now you are familiar with how Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan jacked up the price of EpiPens from about $57 a shot to $300 a shot. EpiPens are used to inject children and adults who have severe life-threatening reactions to bee stings or food allergies. EpiPens were not invented by Mylan. The price was stable for years until 2007 when Mylan bought the EpiPen injector from Merck. Then the proverbial adrenalin hit the fan and the price went up, up and away.
Right now you might be asking yourself, what kind of person jacks up the price of a life saving drug by 500 percent. Consider if you will, the curious story of Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan. Heather is a real sweetheart. She claimed she earned a master’s from West Virginia University while her daddy was governor of West Virginia. An investigation revealed some high-level funny business took place at WVU because Heather was well connected. Her fake MBA was rescinded by WVU. Heather had not earned an MBA. The President, Provost and the Business School Dean of West Virginia University all resigned in the wake of Heathergate.
Undeterred by a sense of shame or human decency, Heather raised the price of EpiPens multiple times and scored herself a salary of over $18,000,000 a year for her good works for Mylan. A dose of Epinephrine costs about $1 to make. The injector is extra. Parents of children dependent on EpiPens are not happy by the price gouging Heather hath brought.
Heather displays sensitivity that would make a block of granite blush. Heather complains she is a victim. When questioned about the price leaps, after blaming insurance companies, she whined that “No one’s more frustrated than me.” Despite Heather’s sense of self pity, the parents of children with life threatening allergies are a bit more frustrated than Heather. She went on to justify the price increases by telling the press that: “The price has changed over time to better reflect the value of the product provided.”
This is an interesting theory. Let us apply it to other products.
If Mylan and Heather got their teeth into America’s water systems, what price would Heather charge for a gallon of water? The value that water provides is that it is necessary for life. Under Heathernomics theory of pricing that should justify charging $300 a gallon for water for starters. What do you think Heather could charge if she was able to buy chemotherapy medications? What if Heather got control of chocolate? French fries? Air? The mind boggles.
How do you solve a problem like Heather? How do you gouge masses of allergic children and pin them down? How do you hold an overpriced EpiPen in your hand? Some people say she should be put on one of those exploding Tesla Space X rockets. She could be sent to this week’s newest Exoplanet Proxima Centauri which NASA says may support life. The Proxima Centaurians undoubtably will need EpiPens which she can take with her to create a new profit center of allergic aliens. Proxima Centauri is only 4.2 light years from Earth. Sitting alone like Spaceman Spiff on her way to Proxima Centauri should give Heather a chance to rethink her value system of pricing. As our fastest rockets only travel 25,000 miles per hour at best, Heather will be away from the Earth for quite a while.
Once she gets to Proxima Centauri may she live long and prosper. Or to modify Tevye’s prayer for the Czar in Fiddler on the Roof, “ May the Lord bless and keep Heather, far, far from here. “Well, now it’s time to say good-bye to Heather and all her EpiPens/And they would like to thank you folks for kindly buying their pens/You’re all invited back next week to this locality/To have a heapin’ helpin’ of their gouging hospitality/Wall Street that is. Set a spell. Take your shoes off/Inject yourselves./Ya’ll come back now, y’hear?”