Encouraging competition

One of the villains in last year’s scandal over EpiPens sold by Mylan Pharmaceuticals was the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as we pointed out. That agency is about to get a new director.

Public outrage focused on Mylan for its pricing of the EpiPen, a device used to inject a drug that counteracts severe allergic reactions. Some people are at such risk that they carry EpiPens wherever they go.

In 2007, a two-pack of the devices could be purchased for $58. By 2016, Mylan was charging $600.

One of the strengths of our free-market system is that it encourages competition — allegedly. But would-be competitors in the EpiPen business were not allowed to sell their products, likely undercutting Mylan on price, because the FDA had not approved them for sale in the United States.

President Donald Trump has accused bureaucrats at the FDA of dragging their feet on such approvals. Last week, Trump nominated Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who once served as FDA deputy commissioner, to head the agency. Gottlieb should be confirmed swiftly so he can begin cutting red tape at the agency.

By Chad Fleck

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