Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Pharma Sis, Mylan CEO, Hits Her EpiPen Marketing Target: Moms! Price Gouging Followed

Pharma Sis, Mylan CEO, Hits Her EpiPen Marketing Target: Moms! Price Gouging Followed | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Mylan pharmaceutical company has a virtual monopoly on EpiPens after a voluntary recall felled their only competitor*, Sanofi’s Auvi-Q, over possible dosage miscalibrations. It’s not the drug being delivered that brings the bucks, though—epinephrine’s a cheap generic. The cost trickery is in the delivery system, the Mylan EpiPen.


The EpiPen’s been around since 1977, but Mylan acquired the autoinjector—which precisely calibrates the epinephrine dosage—in 2007. The patient now pays about 400% more for this advantage to receive a dollar’s worth of the lifesaving drug: EpiPens were about $57 when Mylan acquired it. Today, it can empty pockets of $500 or more in the US (European nations take a different approach to these things).


According to NBC, Mylan’s profits from selling EpiPens, which they have aggressively, famously marketed with brilliant success, hit $1.2 billion in 2015. That year, Bloomberg reported that the epinephrine-delivery system represented 40% of Mylan’s operating profits. Bloomberg calls Mylan’s marketing of the EpiPen “a textbook case in savvy branding.”


It’s what the market will bear, so what’s the problem, right?


Only this: Somewhere, right now, a cash-strapped parent or budget-limited patient with a severe allergy will skip acquiring an EpiPen. And someday, they will need it in a life-threatening situation involving exposure to a trigger … and they won’t have it. And they will die. Because they couldn’t afford the delivery mechanism for $1 worth of a drug to keep them alive. Two turning points, a death, and one company at the crossroads.



Shkreli’s shenanigans earned him the moniker “pharma bro,” but the “bro” in the Mylan case is no bro: She’s ‘pharma sis’ Heather Bresch, now the company’s CEO. The “textbook” marketing plan she hit on expanded the “find” target—one of the three goals of any pharmaceutical company—reaching for parents of children with allergies. The “what-if” fears of parents are a rich vein to tap, one that clearly has proved immensely valuable to Mylan.


The “find” was a huge success. And once those parents were found, hitting the second goal of a pharmaceutical company—“start,” as in “start them on your product”—was almost inevitable. The question now is, in the face of prohibitive pricing, syringe-hacking, and all of this negative publicity—in which even Martin “Pharma Bro” Shkreli sees a spot of moral high ground where he can stand—Can Mylan continue to hit that third aim: Keep?

Pharma Guys insight:

Read “Mylan CEO Heather Bresch: We needed tax inversion in order to grow”;

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Mom to Bayer: "Would You Implant This in Your Mother...?"

Mom to Bayer: "Would You Implant This in Your Mother...?" | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

The following is a letter from E-Sister Brianne Savino:


Dear Bayer,

I find myself writing this with no expectation that this will be read by anyone at your company that holds any merit. However, I hold onto a small vestige of hope that this will not only be read but also understood. You are a very large and successful corporation. Your company has offered many products that have helped countless lives and there is something to be said for that.

Nonetheless, you have made a mistake. As children we are taught that mistakes are allowed as long as we learn from them and correct ourselves. You bought and distributed a product known as Essure. You successfully promoted it and it is now widely known and used. For some this product has been wonderful and others it has become a living nightmare from which we cannot wake. Many of us are suffering and what I want to know is ‘do you care?’ I understand that a large corporation must pay heavy attention to their bottom line but I urge you to look below that. We are not numbers and statistics. We are human beings.

With all the negative reports that you have flooding in I would like to ask each one of you that continue to market and promote this product, ‘Would you implant this is your mother, sister, wife, or even your daughter?’ That’s what we are, we are not complaints or negative press. We are mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. Every one of us owns one or more of those titles. How do we get through to you? If not by a moral compass than what?

Many of us, myself included, have no means to get help with this. I am a single mother to 5 children whom I support and take very good care of. I find myself in quite the predicament with healthcare. I make too much to get any help from a state agency and yet I make too little to get any help from the marketplace. You have spent millions in incentives to have doctors push your product and yet you are doing nothing to help the people that your product has hurt. Will you not do as we are taught as children?

Apologize and make things right. I suggest that you do some reading on the very large mistakes that GM has made, not only morally but financially as well. They were in a scenario much like yours. They had the information and the resources to correct the poor decisions that were made but they chose not to. Financially this has hurt them more in the long run than it would have if they had corrected it in the beginning and has sufficiently warped their reputation. Precious lives were lost because they were afraid of the financial aspect. Will that example open your eyes?

I beg you to see me, the real me. Not the case number or complaint number that I have been issued. Me, the person, the daughter, the mother that you have hurt. I may be just one measly person in the world to you but to my five children, I am the world. You are at a crossroads right now.

You can become the company that cares for profit margins only or you can become the company that cared enough to make things right. Very little comes before the almighty dollar these days, I am very well aware of that fact.

That being said, I know who I am and who my mother raised me to be. I would never put a price on a human beings life. To those that love us, we are priceless. I will ask one thing of the Bayer CEO, all the executives and employees that continue the fight to keep Essure as a safe, effective and permanent birth control before I close this letter.

When you lay your head on your pillow tonight, close your eyes, keep in mind all the hard evidence and facts of injury that have come before you with this product, now think of your mother wherever she may be.

Lastly, ask yourself one question…’Would she be proud of you and the decisions that you’ve made?’

Pharma Guys insight:

Re: Essure It's a Flint, Michigan moment: Drink your own Kool-Aid and prove it's safe!

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