Makers of the EpiPen gave themselves fat raises as they were jacking up the cost of the life-saving device, NBC News reports. Mylan CEO Heather Bresch saw her salary leap to $18.9 million from $2.4 million—a 671% increase—from 2007 to 2015. That was same period during which Mylan, after acquiring EpiPen, began steadily raising its price by 500%. Bresch wasn’t alone. President Rajiv Malik's base pay jumped 11.1% to $1 million and Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Mauro’s rose 13.6% to $625,000, NBC reports, citing proxy filings. News of EpiPen’s price hike has outraged consumers and doctors, and senators including Chuck Grassley and Amy Klobuchar are demanding investigations, reports the Washington Post. Bresch is the daughter of another senator, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
A company spokesman didn't respond to NBC's requests for comment, but officials have previously said Mylan put a “significant investment” into EpiPen after acquiring it.
After nearly dropping the old device, they instead launched a marketing and lobbying strategy credited with making the marker-sized stick a staple in US schools and household medicine cabinets. The device delivers a stab of epinephrine to the thigh that halts allergic reactions to such things as peanuts and insect bites. Federal legislation in 2013 requiring schools to stock epinephrine devices also helped make EpiPen a $1 billion-a-year product. It now accounts for 40% of Mylan’s profits, Bloomberg reports. Since the FDA in 2010 recommended that EpiPens come in packs of two instead of one, the cost of a double pack has exploded to as much as $600 from $100. (Is there an alternative to EpiPen? Yes.)