Drug Development, Protocols

Protocols: Mylan’s EpiPen strategy stirs fresh outrage over price gouging; a flailing Woodford halts big bonuses

Forget Martin Shkreli. The bad-guy role in the pharma world has now been handed to Mylan, which has been hit with a tsunami of media coverage about its price gouging habits involving the EpiPen. The decades old injection device needed to survive life-threatening allergic episodes was sold for $100 back in 2007, when Mylan bought it, and now goes for $608.61 after a series of steep price hikes. The price has risen so high, some parents can’t afford it any longer, and an online mob has assembled to digitally pillory Mylan. Mylan, of course, is following a tried and true practice in pharmaland, steadily hiking wholesale prices of old technology. Eli Lilly, among many others, has been doing exactly the same thing for quite some time. And with politicians focused on a presidential election year, fears continue to rise in the industry that elected officials may attempt to stop the practice. There are no laws preventing price gouging in biopharma, but some politicians are looking for the FTC to investigate monopoly pricing. Martin Shkreli got this controversy started with his decision to hike the price of an ancient therapy by  more than 5000%. Soon after, Valeant become the poster child for price manipulation. And it has become a potent consumer issue that may well affect everyone in drug development, eventually.

The staff at Oxford-based Woodford Investment Management has had a bad year. And now they can go without the big annual bonuses that funds are known to pay. Neil Woodford says that there’s no correlation between bonuses and success. And after experiencing setbacks at several of his top biotech investments, he has the numbers to back it up.

India’s Vyome Biosciences has raised $14 million for its R&D work on skin diseases. Perceptive Advisors and Romulus Capital led the round, with contributions from Kalaari Capital, Sabre Partners and Aarin Capital.

After selling its IP to Novo Nordisk, Dublin-based Merrion is liquidating its remaining assets.


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