Consumer Watchdog Campaign: USC Pharmacy Dean Reaped $6 Million Serving on EpiPen Board; Protest Demanded Resignation As Congress Grilled Mylan CEO

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LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog Campaign joined drug price advocates and people outraged over the price of Mylan, Inc.’s lifesaving EpiPen and other lifesaving drugs, including supporters of Proposition 61, the California Drug Price Relief Act, to protest at the USC School of Pharmacy against Randall Vanderveen, PhD, R.Ph. Vanderveen is the school’s former Dean and current professor and advisor to the Leonard Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics at USC—and an extremely well-compensated member of Mylan’s Board of Directors. Advocates also protested USC, whose reputation has been damaged by news of Vanderveen’s multi-million-dollar profiteering from serving on Mylan’s Board. 

The L.A. protest took place on the same day and during some of the time that Mylan CEO Heather Bresch testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in Washington, DC, on the pricing and policies regarding the company’s lifesaving EpiPen, the price of which has risen 500% over the past decade. Mylan raised the price of the life-saving injection to $600 for a two-pack, from $57 per pen when it bought the device in 2007.”

“A 500% price spike on the EpiPen fueled extreme executive compensation, including and stock awards to Board members that were worth nearly $6 million to USC’s Dr. Vanderveen just last year.  Vanderveen should repudiate the extortion Mylan is perpetrating on tens of millions of Americans, resign from the company’s board, and renounce any ill-gotten compensation received while EpiPen prices were increasing unconscionably,” said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog Campaign.

Regarding Dr. Vanderveen’s drug company profiteering, a chart published in a Seeking Alpha article revealed that Randall Vanderveen sold 106,551 shares of Mylan stock for $5,647,203—representing 297% of his pre-options exercise holdings.   

In a biting opinion piece by David Martin, Founder of M-Cam[2], published on CNBC on August 25, 2016, “Media outlets should be doing their stories on … members of Mylan's board of directors, who were willing to endorse a business strategy as ethical as arms dealers in Lord of War.” 

Today, EpiPens sell for $608 for a package of two. In his online CNBC commentary, Martin noted, “In 2011, the same product sold for $164. In 2007, it was available for $57.” He ended his piece writing, “… we should demand accountability where it's really due – the Patent Office that granted an unjustified and unpatentable monopoly, the FDA which props up the illusion, and a board of directors at Mylan who don't take the time to inform themselves of their own company's misdeeds.”

“Academic institutions like USC lend powerful credibility to operators like Mylan by letting institutional leaders like Dr. Vanderveen serve—and profit—on the boards of such ethically-challenged companies,” said Donna Stidham, RN, a mother, nurse for 43 years and AHF’s Chief of Managed Care. “USC and others should realize the reputational damage their institutions suffer by letting their leaders and professors get in bed with the Mylans of the world and work diligently to put a stop to it.”

Background on Prop 61

Proposition 61 would require the state of California to negotiate with drug companies for drug prices that are no more than is paid for the same drugs by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Unlike Medicare, the DVA negotiates for drug prices on behalf of the millions veterans it serves, and pays on average 20-24 percent less for medications than other government agencies, and up to 40 percent less than Medicare Part D.

Prop 61 Endorsements

Prop. 61 has been endorsed by Consumer Watchdog, AARP California, the California Nurses Association, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his organization Our Revolution, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, civil rights and labor activist Dolores Huerta, Rev. Al Sharpton, the Urban League, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Campaign for a Healthy California, Progressive Democrats of America, Social Security Works, and the Vote Vets Action Fund. A full list of endorsements can be found at:

Paid for by Consumer Watchdog Campaign – Yes on 61, Major Funding by Yes on Prop 61, Californians for Lower Drug Prices, With Major Funding by AIDS Healthcare Foundation and California Nurses Association PAC. FPPC ID#1387641

Carmen Balber
Carmen Balber
Consumer Watchdog executive director Carmen Balber has been with the organization for nearly two decades. She spent four years directing the group’s Washington, D.C. office where she advocated for key health insurance market reforms that were ultimately enacted into law as part of the Affordable Care Act.

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