What’s it like to be in charge of EpiPen prices?
There’s a internet game that puts you in Heather Bresch’s shoes – she’s the CEO of Mylan, which makes the pens.
The game is called EpiPen Tycoon – you can play it here – and it starts with a pretty tongue-in-cheek backstory:
“You are Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan, the maker of EpiPens. Your shareholders want results. Your customers want to not die of anaphylactic shock. It’s up to you to jack the prices as high as you can.”
It doesn’t require a whole lot of skill to play – mostly pushing the up arrow to raise prices or the down arrow to lower them.
If you raise the prices too high, people die and media outlets write negative stories about you. Eventually it’s “Game Over” because you can’t handle the criticism and have to resign.
If you don’t raise the prices enough, you get fired for not making enough of a profit.
But if you last long enough in the game, offer a subsidy, blame Obamacare, and offer a generic, you can eventually hop a plane and run away to an island.
The game is based on the soaring cost of EpiPens which has made a lot of headlines recently.
According to a news release from the senator, a pack of two pens cost about $100 in 2009. Now that same pack costs $500 to $600.
And Forbes has reported that there’s really only $1 worth of the drug in the devices, so people are pretty much paying for the company’s special injector pen.
Mylan makes EpiPens cheaper
Just days after Klobuchar’s criticism, Mylan announced it’d do some things to make EpiPens cheaper. However, none of the company’s efforts include actually dropping the price.
Like the company said it’d offer a $300 savings card, allow more families to qualify for an assistance program, and create a way for EpiPens to be purchased straight from the company rather than through a pharmacy.
The efforts haven’t done a lot to curb all the hate Bresch has been getting, though.
NBC News and others have noted Bresch’s salary jumped from about $2.5 million in 2007 to $18.9 million in 2015 – a 671 percent jump. The price of an EpiPen went up 461 percent during that stretch.