EpiPen Price Hike Directly Attributed To Obamacare, Pundit Claims
The EpiPen price hike that stole headlines over the last week has been largely seen as the actions of a ruthless pharmaceutical company taking advantage of its customers, but one political pundit is taking a different approach to explaining it.
Ben Shapiro, controversial conservative pundit and outspoken hater of all things Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, has weighed in on a recent episode of his podcast, and he sees the EpiPen price hike as a direct result of Obamacare.
The Daily Wire founder seized on these remarks from Hillary Clinton in response to the EpiPen price hike.
“Millions of Americans with severe reactions rely on their EpiPens. Over the last several years, Mylan Pharmaceuticals increased the price of EpiPens by more than 400 percent. That’s outrageous, and it’s just the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers.”
Clinton has gone on record calling for more regulation to prevent this sort of thing from happening, but according to Shapiro, it’s outlooks like this and the “overreach” of Obamacare that cause things like the EpiPen price hike to occur in the first place.
He even offered a two-part explanation to prove his point.
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“There’s a reason EpiPens have skyrocketed in price, and it’s not because the company is super-duper mean to little kids, who suffer from bee stings,” Shapiro said, adding that the first reason is that “insurance coverage masks the increase.”
“So insurers and employers typically negotiate with Mylan Pharmaceuticals over EpiPen prices. That means end users didn’t have any clue about the price increases until they lost their insurance or until their deductibles jumped. So thanks, Obamacare, for forcing parents into the position where they have to pay cash for the EpiPens or pay more for their insurance coverage.”
Shapiro went on to defend Mylan for giving coupons to consumers for co-payments on commercial insurance, pointing out that the company had handed out 700,000 EpiPens to public schools for free.
“But Obamacare has made people feel the pain through their insurance companies because now they have to buy the insurance or they have to pay a fine” as well as the cash price, Shapiro said.
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, who is the daughter of Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, said in a previous statement that the company recognizes “the significant burden on patients from continued rising insurance premiums and being forced to pay the full list prices for medicines at the pharmacy counter.”
To that, Shapiro said, “Thanks, Obama.”
Secondly, he added, the EpiPen price hike occurred because the federal government prevents competition.
“EpiPen could only jack up prices because they have no competition in the marketplace,” he explained. “EpiPen does not cost $600 in Europe. That’s weird that they were able to escape competition since Epinephrine, which is the key component in the EpiPen isn’t patented. It’s been synthesized for well over a century.”
It’s true that in locations like Europe, there are many competitors to the EpiPen, but in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prevented competitors from entering the market, the pundit claimed, adding that the biggest competitor to EpiPen overseas is Adrenaclick, but in the U.S., “it is barred from substitution for EpiPen in prescriptions.”
Essentially, that means the EpiPen price hike is possible because, by law, a pharmacist cannot fill an EpiPen prescription with one of the widely accepted generics that are overseas.
The reason for this, according to Shapiro, is that “EpiPen lobbies to prevent competition” and “so far, they’ve succeeded.”
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He concluded that the solution is to create more government regulation that would ensure more competition in the insurance and medical device marketplace.
For the left, however, the solution is more about price control, Shapiro said.
“Make availability of EpiPens lower, not higher. In the end, it would destroy the marketplace altogether. But that’s what the government is good for. The government doesn’t create markets; it doesn’t create products; all it does is create shortages, higher products and tells you it is doing the bidding of the people while it does all these things.”
Due to the uproar that the EpiPen price hike has caused domestically, there is talk now that a generic is being developed to reduce costs. But what do you think, readers?
Is Ben Shapiro right to blame this on Obamacare and overregulation, or is this more an abuse of capitalism? Sound off in the comments section.
[Photo by Greg Friese | Flickr Creative Commons | Resized and Cropped | CC BY 2.0]