Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton jumped into the fray over rapid price increases for the EpiPen, a life-saving injection for people who are having severe allergic reactions. Mrs. Clinton called the recent price hikes of the EpiPen "outrageous, and just the latest example of a company taking advantage of its consumers."
The story of Mylan's giant EpiPen price increase is, more fundamentally, a story about America's unique drug pricing policies. We are the only developed nation that lets drugmakers set their own prices, maximizing profits the same way sellers of chairs, mugs, shoes, or any other manufactured goods would. In Europe, Canada, and Australia, governments view the market for cures as essentially uncompetitive and set the price as part of a bureaucratic process, similar to how electricity or water are priced in regulated US utility markets. Other countries do this for drugs and medical care -- but not other products, like phones or cars -- because of something fundamentally unique about medication: If consumers can't afford the product, they could have worse odds of living. In some cases, they face quite certain odds of dying. So most governments have decided that keeping these products affordable is a good reason to introduce more government regulation.