P.R. ‘Offensive’ Heather Bresch Doubles Down On EpiPen Price Increase. Admiration for public relations practitioners who are advocates for their enterprises when they are mis-represented in the press is where the profession earns its merit and distinction. Scorn is what gets heaped on us when we are spinning bad behavior. Pity is what I feel for people whose livelihoods depend on working in such places where trying to explain away something terrible is the order of the day. Say hello to Mylan Pharmaceuticals and CEO Heather Bresch who blamed ‘the system’ for the massive price hikes on a pharmaceutical that has not been changed or improved lately. Rather than reconsider the price increase and her own salary boost CEO Bresch pointed a well manicured finger of blame at ‘the system’ for this failure, claiming further that ‘no one is more frustrated than I am’ at whoever this ‘system’ is.
Milan CEO Bresch is the daughter of U.S. Senator Joe Minchin, D-W.Va. Her company’s EpiPen’s are used to save the lives of people who experience severe allergic reactions that cause their airways to close. Mylan acquired the decades-old product in 2007, when pharmacies paid less than $100 for a two-pen set, and has since been steadily raising the wholesale price. In 2009, a pharmacy paid $103.50 for a set. By July 2013 the price was up to $264.50, and it rose 75 percent to $461 by last May. In May 2016 the price spiked again to $608.61, according to data provided by Elsevier Clinical Solutions’ Gold Standard Drug Database.
Bresch Interviewed; Blames Customers
During an interview on CNBC, CEO Bresch argued that a ‘lack of transparency in the complex health care system — with bigger cuts for everyone along the supply chain — “incentivizes higher prices” in the industry. She pointed out that copays and deductibles are on the rise, too. “This system needs to be fixed. No one knows what anything costs,” Bresch told CNBC on Thursday.The Mylan CEO compared the health care industry to the real estate mortgage crisis of 2008. “Our health care system is in a crisis…This bubble is going to burst,” Bresch said. Bresch did not cite increased costs of raw materials, new taxes, regulations, or demand for the increase in price. Nor did she explain why the same medicine is available in Canada for hundreds of dollars less.
When Corporate Governance Is Broken
Who To Blame For That Salary Increase? Bresch had no explanation for the over 600% in pay raises she has received as CEO, with her earnings going from approximately$ 2.5 million a year to over $18 million a year. No vague ‘system’ to pin that on. Shareholders should look to the Mylan board of directors for an explanation since they are the ones who approve these increases.
What Is A P.R. Person To Do?
Everyone has bills to pay, I get that. Hell, somewhere someone is explaining how the Clinton Foundation is a good thing. But behavior like this from the Mylan CEO will get people killed. Someone is going to die because they could not afford an EpiPen. And it may be lots of people who die needlessly because Heather Bresch needs the money (sarcasm). So Mylan public relations people, polish your resumes and get out there. No need to go down with this ship. Leave your CEO to ride this one to the bottom all by herself. She deserves it and you deserve better.
NOTE: the writer is an asthmatic who takes epinephrin in pill form daily.