When’s the last time you had a pay raise? If you’re anything like many Americans that are working day to day and trying to make ends meet, there’s a smaller and smaller chance that you even warranted a cost of living increase lately. As companies are routinely pressed to do more with less, employees all across the country keep hearing that there’s “just not enough money in the budget this year.”
One person who hasn’t heard those words is Heather Bresch. You might not know who she is, but you probably know one of her company’s popular products – especially if you or a loved one suffer from life-threatening allergies.
The product is the EpiPen and it has been carried by kids and adults alike to provide a quick injection of life saving epinephrine when needed. Mylan, the pharmaceutical company run by Bresch, acquired the rights to the EpiPen in 2007 and consumers have been paying more for the device ever since. In fact, the price for EpiPens has increased by more than 500 percent over the past few years.
According to NBC News, 2008 and 2009 saw five percent increases. Then, at the end of 2009, after already increasing EpiPen prices that year, Mylan instituted another 19 percent increase. Prices increased by 10 percent every year in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. After that, however, the price was officially let off its leash. Bresch’s Milan hiked the price of EpiPens another 15 percent every six months, with the last increase coming the second quarter of this year.
While parents and other consumers struggled to keep up; never knowing if the drug that could keep them alive in the event of an allergic emergency would be more expensive than the last time they had to refill their prescription, Heather Bresch’s salary went through the roof.
From 2007 to 2015, Bresch’s compensation package went from almost $2.5 million to $18.9 million; an increase of 671 percent. Not bad for someone who may have lied about earning an MBA.
Congress has taken note of the price increases and parents across the country have taken to social media to organize and call further attention to the issue. Whether these actions will lead to change remains to be seen. In the meantime, parents scramble to make sure that their children will be safe as back to school looms around the corner.