SJP just dumped Mylan on Instagram.
That’s actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who signed on in May as paid spokesperson for Mylan’s “Anaphylaxis for Reel” awareness campaign. Parker posted a statement on her Instagram account saying she's ended that relationship as a “direct result” of Mylan's exorbitant price increases on its epinephrine injection EpiPen.
Mylan hiked its prices on the allergic reaction treatment “to a point that renders the medication cost-prohibitive for countless people,” Parker said, adding that she is sad and concerned about the company's moves.
The post has received more than 36,000 likes and more than a thousand comments, most thanking her for the move.
The “Anaphylaxis for Reel” effort calls for consumers to create and submit short educational films about living with and managing severe allergies. Parker joined the effort in part because she knows the risk of anaphylaxis firsthand; her 13-year-old son James Wilke has severe peanut and hazelnut allergies, Mylan told FiercePharmaMarketing in May.
Parker did media interviews to kick off the awareness push and was set to attend the film festival airing the winning work this fall. The awareness campaign is part of an aggressive marketing campaign Mylan launched after Sanofi's Auvi-Q competitor was recalled--and then yanked from the market--last year. Soon after Sanofi's stumble, a generic rival from Teva was turned back by the FDA, continuing Mylan's monopoly.
As of Thursday evening, the campaign website was still up, along with Parker’s story and photo with her son. It is uncertain what will happen with the promotion next; Mylan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mylan has faced a tidal wave of criticism over the past few weeks amid charges that it inflated the cost of EpiPens by some 400% since 2009 while also wildly increasing top executives’ paychecks. Just this week politicians joined the fray calling for inquiries into the price increases, with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton calling out the company and tweeting “there’s no justification for these price hikes.”
Mylan’s bottom line has flourished thanks to EpiPen sales, which languished at around $200 million when Mylan bought the company in 2007, but topped $1.2 billion last year. The drug makes up 40% of the company’s total revenue. The company has combined repeated price hikes and savvy marketing--including a deal to put EpiPen injectors throughout Disney parks--to make the product such a hot seller.
In response to the controversy, Mylan announced on Thursday that it would increase its copay assistance program from $100 to $300, which it claims will effectively eliminate co-pays for uninsured and under-insured patients. Critics, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and the consumer group Public Citizen, blasted Mylan's move as cynical and inadequate.
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