Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Even the generic EpiPen is too expensive, public advocacy groups pointed out. (Photo: Phillip Bradshaw/flickr/cc)

'Just Cut the Price': Consumer Groups Unimpressed With EpiPen Generic

"Today's announcement is just one more convoluted mechanism to avoid plain talk [and] admit to price gouging," Public Citizen said

Nadia Prupis

The maker of the emergency allergy medication EpiPen, Mylan, on Monday announced a generic version of the drug amid a price-gouging scandal—indicating that, as journalist Sonali Kolhatkar wrote on Twitter, public outrage can create change—but consumer groups say it's too little, too late.

"The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong," said Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy organization Public Citizen, in a statement on Monday. "Today's announcement is just one more convoluted mechanism to avoid plain talk, admit to price gouging, and just cut the price of EpiPen."

Mylan was accused in July of having incrementally hiked its EpiPen prices over time until they reached $600 per two-pen set—a 500 percent increase that was well out of reach for many consumers who need the medical tools in life-threatening allergy situations.

It was also later revealed that the company's executives gave themselves exorbitant bonuses and avoided paying taxes while they jacked up the cost of the medication.

As outrage grew on social media, a movement bolstered by recent efforts to highlight Big Pharma's widespread price gouging, Mylan went on the defensive—first claiming it did nothing wrong by increasing the cost, and this week offering a cheaper off-brand alternative.

But even the generic version is too expensive, critics pointed out, coming in at $300 a set, while Canada's version costs $200 for two sets and France's costs half even that, as Public Citizen noted.

"Mylan executives should be ashamed of themselves," Weissman said. "But even if they are not, they should recognize that the issue is not going away until the company rolls back the EpiPen price."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), said Monday that "Mylan may appear to be moving in the right direction, but its announcement raises as many questions as solutions—including why the price is still astronomically high, and whether its action is a preemptive strike against a competing generic. Mylan must be held accountable to lower prices now, stop future price increases, and answer for any past illegal misconduct."

And moreover, Weissman added, the "EpiPen case is not an outlier. It is reflective of out-of-control drug pricing. And the outrage over EpiPen prices is a harbinger of a rising public demand for far-reaching reform over drug prices, reform that restrains Big Pharma's monopoly pricing power."

Public Citizen and several other groups are coordinating an action on Tuesday that will deliver more than 600,000 petitions to Mylan's corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania to demand the company reduce EpiPen prices. The groups, which also include the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare, the Thomas Merton Center, and the Consumer Health Coalition, will also call for legislative action to reign in unregulated drug costs.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Medicare for All Advocates Take to the Streets of Over 50 US Cities

"How can we have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when we live in constant fear of illness, bankruptcy, or homelessness because of the outrageous for-profit healthcare system?"

Jessica Corbett ·


Thousands Join Budapest Pride Parade to Protest Attacks on LGBTQ+ Hungarians

"A lot has happened over the last few years, and it's time to show that we're not okay with it," said one of the organizers.

Jessica Corbett ·


US Lawmakers Demand $34 Billion for Global Vaccine Equity Funding in Reconciliation Package

"No investment in the fight against Covid-19 is more urgent and cost-effective now than an investment in getting the world vaccinated as quickly as possible."

Jessica Corbett ·


Ilhan Omar Demands Answers After First Somalia Airstrike of Biden Era

"It is critical that we realize we are not going to simply drone the al-Shabaab problem to death," the Somali-American congresswoman asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Huge Legal Win': Court Stops Police From Blockading Line 3 Protester Camp

One attorney described the blockade as "an outrageous abuse of law enforcement authority serving the interests of the Enbridge corporation against its environmental opponents."

Kenny Stancil ·