By now, you’ve probably heard about Mylan Laboratories’ massive price hikes in the EpiPen, which is used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions. You might have even heard how the EpiPen technology is entirely the result of federally funded research. Perhaps you even read about the possible (who are we kidding, probable) anti-trust violations that Mylan has committed. But this is simply par for the course (boldface mine):
EpiPen price hikes may be causing outrage, but those pale in comparison to the huge increases that Mylan Laboratories took on dozens of other medicines earlier this year.
For instance, the company raised the price of ursodiol, a generic medicine used to treat gallstones, by 542 percent. There was also a 400 percent boost in the price for dicyclomine, which combats irritable bowel syndrome, and a 312 percent increase for metoclopramide, a generic drug that treats gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Those eye-popping increases were actually first disclosed two months ago by Wells Fargo analyst David Maris, amid a national debate over prescription drug prices. The disclosure put Mylan on the defensive because, until then, the company had avoided the harsh spotlight fixed mostly on Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Turing Pharmaceuticals, which was run by Martin Shkreli.
There are grounds to revoke a corporate charter on the grounds of being a complete shithead (boldface mine):
In 1976, California’s conservative Republican attorney general used corporate charter revocation to force a private water company out of business for delivering contaminated water to its customers. The company settled the litigation and its assets were sold before its charter was revoked.
The New York State attorney general used the tool in 1998 in conjunction with other litigation to put two New York corporations, Council for Tobacco Research and Tobacco Institute Inc., out of business and order their assets donated to state education and health institutions. Dennis Vacco argued that the Council was using its tax-exempt status by acting as a propaganda arm of the tobacco industry. The stated mission of the groups was “to provide truthful information about the effects of smoking on public health,” Vacco said. “Instead,” he added, “these entities fed the public a pack of lies in an underhanded effort to promote smoking and to addict America’s kids.”
The tobacco industry eventually agreed to dissolve the two front groups as part of a multistate settlement of a lawsuit over the public health costs of smoking. But first, Vacco convinced the states’ courts to appoint a receiver for the two tobacco groups and dissolve the Council for Tobacco Research because it had violated its nonprofit corporate charter and tax-exempt status.
If there were ever a legitimate reason to disband a company and have the state redeploy the assets, price gouging with life-saving medicines would be it. If nothing else, it would force Mylan to lower its prices.
Update: Mylan announced that it will release a generic version of the EpiPen for ‘only’ $300, which means they jacked up the price roughly three-fold. Crush these fuckers.