September 6, 2016
Millions will be shocked to learn that Mylan Pharmaceuticals did not, in fact, invent the EpiPen concept. The product’s creator was actually a man of decency, and a very skilled engineer. Sheldon Kaplan was an engineer for NASA before he created the EpiPen.
Kaplan is said to have lived a modest, simple life in the middle class. He never received royalties for his invention or became famous. His son Michael says that he believes his father wouldn’t have cared much for fame, though.
According to US Uncut, after his time at NASA, Kaplan began working at Survival Technology, Inc., which is located in Maryland. There, he started his quest to design a product to quickly inject life-saving epinephrine into users who where suffering from anaphylaxis. People with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and other potential allergens can experience life-threatening reactions, and the traditional method of drawing up a syringe is inefficient. When a person cannot breathe, every second counts.
Kaplan began the last stages of creating his design for the product in 1973. At that time, the United States Department of Defense approached him; they were looking for a device that could be used easily to quickly inject an antidote for nerve gas.
The design Kaplan created allowed users to simply press the device into one’s thigh. Life-saving medicine would then be delivered through a needle released by a unique spring-loaded mechanism. The invention would eventually be known as the ComboPen, and it was first used by the Pentagon. Several years later, the product became available to the public as the EpiPen we know today.
The United States government paid for this product’s development with taxpayer money
The EpiPen design truly belongs to the people, not Mylan Pharmaceuticals. Mylan acquired the patent for the EpiPen in 2007, and since then the company has been raising the price of the product each year. Truly, it is detestable for this company to take something they didn’t even design, that was created with taxpayer dollars, and sell it back to us at an astronomical price.
NewsMax reports that in 2008, EpiPens cost about $100 a piece. The current list price for an EpiPen has reached a shocking $600.
Chief Executive Heather Bresch has defended the price-gouging as being a necessity, claiming that the company supposedly invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” to improve the product’s “design.” One new feature is that the needle is “invisible.” One would tend to think that the people who need EpiPens are less concerned about how it looks, and more concerned about the device saving their lives.
Bresch’s insistent cries about the need to raise the price on the product due to their investments in development seem particularly disingenuous when considering the 671 percent pay increase she’s managed to attain over the last few years. Yes, you read that right. Bresch’s annual salary has gone from nearly $2.5 million to just shy of a cool $19 million. Clearly, the general public just can’t understand her struggle. Wouldn’t it be nice to make $19 million a year from what is essentially legal robbery?
In late August, Mylan announced that it will be creating a generic EpiPen product that will be available for half the price of the brand-name device. In other words, Mylan is creating a “new” device that won’t say “EpiPen” on it, and selling it to people for three times what they paid for it eight years ago. Many people seem to think that Mylan was “pressured” into creating a cheaper product, but who’s to say that this wasn’t their plan all along? More people will buy the $300 generics, and their profits will continue to rise. They created the demand for a generic, and they’re going to run with it.