Crony Capitalism Writ Large The Epi-Pen Saga

Remember the uproar about the epi-pen suddenly costing an arm and a leg?

It gets better.

In 1986, Joe Machin got himself elected to the West Virginia Senate. In 1992, he attended a WVU basketball game with Mylan CEO Milan Puskar, and mentioned his daughter Heather Bresch was looking for a job. Mylan hired her as a clerk, In 2005, Joe Manchin got himself elected Governor (D) of West Virginia. Two years later, he appointed his wife Gayle to a seat on the West Virginia Board of Education for a nine year term. Also in 2007, daughter Heather was claiming on her CV that she had an MBA from WVU. A WV newspaper reported on it. The president of WVU happened to be a family friend of Governor Manchin and a former consultant and lobbyist for Mylan. Even though Heather had only completed half the hours necessary for an MBA, WVU granted her an eMBA. The president of WVU was forced to resign. Heather and her dad both kept their jobs.

In 2010, Joe Machin was elected Senator of West Virginia. In 2012, Heather Bresch became the CEO of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, and in 2012, her mom Gayle Machin was elected head of the NASBE, the National Association of State Boards of Education. She initiated programs heavily promoting the idea of putting epi-pens in all schools. She even arranged for a doctor who Mylan paid research grants of more than $400K to speak at the NASBE national convention.

By the end of 2013, eleven states passed laws requiring epi-pens in school, and Mr Obama signed the federal so called “Epi_pen Law”. The legislation amended the Public Health Service Act to give preference (cash) in awarding asthma grants to States that agree to establish school-based emergency epinephrine programs. Mylan gave away 700,000 injectors, but only to school districts that agreed to not buy any injector but the epi-pen.

In the two years between Heather becoming Mylan’s CEO and Obama signing the epi-pen law, Mylan stock almost doubled. By June 2015, it was up 340%.

To be fair, Joe Machin didn’t craft the epi-pen legislation and the senate vote to pass the bill was unanimous. His buddy Steney Hoyer was the co-sponsor. His wife and daughter however, clearly demonstrate the lifelong value of political connections.

This a great example of why citizens no longer trust their representatives at the municipal, state, or federal level. Far too many of them become quite adept at finding ingenious ways to extract cash from taxpayer’s pockets.