A recent investigation by The Intercept revealed that Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.V.)’s daughter worked with Pfizer Inc. in 2016 to monopolize and raise the price of the EpiPen while the company gave generous campaign donations to Manchin.
Manchin’s daughter, Heather Bresch, was the president and chief executive officer of Mylan Inc., a pharmaceutical company that specialized in generic drugs. The company raised the price of a two-pack of EpiPen from around $124 in 2009 to $609 in 2016. Bresch left the company in 2020 after Mylan merged with Upjohn, Pfizer’s generic division, in November 2020, to form Viatris Inc. Bresch began working at the company in 1992, and became CEO in 2012.
Before it became Viatris, Mylan was one of the largest campaign contributors to Manchin’s campaigns in five election cycles, donating around $211,000 to his campaigns since 2009 through PACs and employees. In 2010, the company’s PAC and its employees were the largest donors to Manchin’s first Senate run, and Viatris is the number one career donor to Manchin, including past donations from Mylan. In Manchin’s second Senate election in 2016, Mylan was the second highest contributor to the West Virginia senator.
And during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles, the largest donor to Mylan’s PAC was Bresch, donating the maximum amount ($5,000) for a donor to a multicandidate corporate PAC both times. Manchin’s campaign also received the most money from Mylan’s PAC ($10,000) in the 2010 election cycle.
In the 2016 and 2018 cycles, Bresch again donated the maximum amount of $5,000 to the PAC, but no money from the PAC went to her father’s campaign. Her husband, Jeff Bresch, also donated the maximum amount to the PAC in 2018.
In 2016, complaints arose on social media about the high costs of EpiPens after the price of a two-pack rose 400 percent between 2009 and 2016. Bresch even gained the attention of the House Oversight Committee, which asked her to testify and to hand over documents about EpiPen.
“Looking back, I wish we had better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration of the rising financial issues for a growing minority of patients who may have ended up paying the full price or more,” Bresch said to the committee in her testimony.
That same year, Mylan settled a suit with the Department of Justice, alongside other government agencies, for $465 million over whether it overcharged the Medicaid program for EpiPens. Bresch was called in front of Congress again in December 2016 to explain the details of the settlement, but refused to testify. At a Forbes event the day after she was supposed to testify, Bresch stated that while she was apologetic for the company raising the price of the drug, the higher costs were due to “improvements” to the design of the delivery mechanism.
Manchin’s office did not respond to a request for comment.