There are two major types of crimes out in the world, one of them is street crime and the other being white collar crime. Can one be worse than the other possibly but at the end of the day these two crimes are both bad. We as a society have police men making sure we follow the laws and protecting us from harm, but who’s watching over the white collar criminals do we have a deterrence just making sure that they don’t break the laws like our police watching us. Now there are many different types of white collar crimes out there, but one I would like to focus on is corporate crime.
Corporations do many illegal things on Sutherland’s White Collar Crime research, he examined seventy companies and said “out of those seventy companies thirty of them began with illegal activities in their origin or began illegal activities immediately after their origin. ” (Sutherland 1983 25) This didn’t began in our generations, this has been happening for centuries but really didn’t get famous until Edwin H. Sutherland brought it to light and is considered the father of white collar crime.
Now corporate crime has many things that I can write about, but one of the major topics in today’s news is about a pharmaceutical company. What companies do? Many companies have to compete with one another in order to get our attention and money. Doing this many companies sometimes lose and other times win. But now when corporations have the only product they’re guaranteed to score big time. Like the epipen which does not have all the factors of anti-trust but has some common similarities. This isn’t something that just started to happen this anti-trust violation has been going on for generations now.
In this paper, we are going to examine what is the epipen, what does, violations of antitrust, history of anti-trust and examples of cases and why the epipen is a violation of anti-trust. What is the epipen The epipen has been around for many years and was first developed by Sheldon Kaplan in 1973. The reason he developed, this was for the military as a nerve agent antidote or chemical warfare. Which was then called the combo pen, but once he discovered that the epipen could be used to treat allergic reactions not just chemical warfare, he went to go get it approved by the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) making it ready for sale in 1987.
And then calling it what we now know as the epipen. (Spotlight | National Inventors Hall of Fame 2016). Now the epipen can be bought at stores worldwide, with a prescription from a doctor. The purpose of epipen is “it constricts blood vessels to increase blood pressure, relaxes smooth muscles in the lungs to reduce wheezing and improve breathing, stimulates the heart and works to reduce hives and swelling that may occur around the face and lips. ” (Mylans’ 2016) So in the short term if you have an allergic reaction to anything it is going to calm the symptoms of the allergy.
Anti-trust Anti-trust is not something that is new to our age this has been going on for hundreds of years and is defined as a law that regulates economic competition. There has been evidence that kings made efforts to prohibit monopolistic practices in the markets in the 12th century. (Friedrichs 1996 262-263) The first anti-trust law was introduced in 1889 and was called the Sherman Act by congress and had a fine of 5000 dollars and up to one year in prison. But in 2004 the fines and the prison time was increased to 1-10 years in prison and 100 million dollar fine for corporations.
The anti-trust act prohibits many different laws, one of them being preserving free and unrestricted competition as the rule of trade. Meaning big corporations have to play fair when they have competition, they cannot try to sabotage one another by having their partners only to trade with you, thus getting rid of your competition. Another example of this is decreasing the price values until your competition can’t compete, afterwards increasing the prices once they’re out of business.
The Sherman Act was not perfect, but it worked and in 1914 congress enacted another part of the anti-trust law which was the Clayton Antitrust Act. This act made it illegal for corporations buying other companies of the same product just to reduce their competition. Many companies ignored this act such as the Pittsburg coal company who adopted a policy of uniform prices to eliminate competition in 1914. (Sutherland 1983 40) The reasons why we need these laws are simple, we need companies to compete with one another to gain our attention, and thus we get lower prices and better quality.
If we don’t have any regulation, we might have companies unite and make a price that is ridiculously high with cheap quality, or could have one company just take over the other and then they make the price that they think is fair, which is currently going on with the epipen. Epipen controversy During the last couple of weeks the big controversy was all about the epipen and how the price has skyrocketed. Now this might just seem like inflation to people, but pharmaceutical companies do this all the time.
They do this when they buy companies or merge with companies that sell the same product in order to get a fixed price and making them the only available product like the epipen. This is because merging with companies and or buying companies is like getting rid of your competition. And with no competition you can put the price of the product to whatever you may seem worthy since your product is the only one in the market or you control both products and don’t really care which one sells because you just raised the price on both.
The epipen has been going up in price ever since 2001 and now has a 600% increase in price since then. The price back then was $75. 80 for a pack of 2 but now they are $614. 07. What makes the epipen product so unique is that it is a pharmaceutical company, now when many people think of crimes that take place within businesses; many don’t think of pharmaceutical companies are doing this but in this case they are. Many companies have to buy or acquire other companies that sell the same product but in the epipens’ case they are the only one of its kind eliminating any competition because they have no competition.
What could be behind epipens price gouging in recent years since, when the epipen was acquired by Mylan, and ever since then the price has increased slowly but surely. When acquired it was increased 5% then again 5% in 2009 than in late October it went up 20% then in 4 years Mylan increased the price by 10% eight different times. (Mangan 2016) In 2013 President Barack Obama signed legislation to increase the availability of the epipen in schools nationwide. But before this 4 states already mandated for school to have this accessible for students. (7)Now after this 11 states now mandate that schools stock epipens for their students.
Unlike other cases where corporations have to compete for our money in this case Mylan is the only company that has the product that many people want and some might even need. Mylan corporations are violating anti-trust laws with this price gouging since they know schools and people have to buy their product and so citizens have no one else to buy from other than them. Mylan also knows how hard it is making a new drug approved; it might take years for another pharmaceutical company to come up with a new drug like this so they are taking advantage of us while they still can.