Raising the prices of life-saving drugs is a sadly common if morally reprehensible practice in corporate America, where the profits of pharmaceutical corporations are more important than the lives of their customers.
Nothing embodies the callous cruelty of the price-gouger than Robert Coury, the chairman of the Mylan company which owns the rights to the ubiquitous Epi-Pen.
He has a simple message for Americans who don’t like his decision to drastically raise the price of the Epi-Pen and extort millions from the American people in exchange for the survival of their children:
Go f*ck yourself.
The New York Times reports that when executives began worrying about the consequences and the ethics of raising the price so high in 2014, Coury literally used those words to describe what his critics could go do.
Mr. Coury replied that he was untroubled. He raised both his middle fingers and explained, using colorful language, that anyone criticizing Mylan, including its employees, ought to go copulate with themselves. Critics in Congress and on Wall Street, he said, should do the same. And regulators at the Food and Drug Administration? They, too, deserved a round of anatomically challenging self-fulfillment.
Epi-Pens contain an injection containing epinephrine, which helps alleviate the symptoms of many allergic reactions. 15 million Americans – 1 in 13 children – have food allergies capable of sending them into anaphylactic shock, making Epi-Pens a life-saving device that needs to be widely available for all to use.
But the maker of the Epi-Pen, Mylan, has been jacking up the price sky-high, raising it from $164 to $608 since 2011 and making millions of dollars off of a product that millions of Americans rely on.
Mylan has taken their efforts to wring money out of sick Americans even further. They’ve even run misleading ads that told parents that Epi-Pens were a “sufficient treatment” for allergies and their kids could eat whatever they wanted.
Executives report that they knew this wasn’t true, but the company ran it anyway. The Food & Drug Administration forced them to pull the ad after a record number of complaints – and presumably a wave of kids who sent themselves to the hospital after it turned out that Epi-Pens were not sufficient to deal with their allergies by themselves.
After all the outcry and the widespread criticism from lawmakers and citizens alike, the price of the Epi-Pen still hasn’t gone down.
“Something is very, very wrong when drug companies value their profits over the lives of their customers. It is time to enact prescription drug policies that work for everyone, not just the CEOs of the pharmaceutical industry” thundered Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last August. But our Republican Congress, bought and paid for by lobbyists, hasn’t lifted a finger to help sick Americans in need.
The arrogance of Coury and the disregard he and his company shows for his customers is proof that profit should have nothing to do with our healthcare system. Healthcare is a human right and people should not have to choose between death or poverty.
But these avaricious jackals only see our health as an obstacle between them and their profits, to the point that they’re willing to lie to us in order to force us to buy more of their product.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.