"I'm not a villain," said Heather Avarice, chief executive of Extort Pharmaceuticals, one the few generic drug manufactures left in an oligopolistic industry noted for price gouging. She was speaking at a press conference today at company headquarters in New York.
Ms. Avarice's firm in a well-publicized takeover, acquired Minute Drugs, makers of EpiPen, one of two remaining medications that can stop life-threating allergic reactions to food and some environmental factors.
After taking over Minute, Extort Pharmaceuticals raised the price of EpiPen packets from $100 to $600 a pack, an action she was asked to defend at the press meeting. Too, reporters for various other troubling issues attacked the company.
"Raising the prices that much isn't anything," said Avarice. Martin Shkreli, over at Gouge Medications raised the price of Daraprim fifty fold overnight after he bought the rights to them," said Heather Avarice.
Reporter for the AP, Nancy Drew stated," One terrible wrong doesn't justify another. Americans deserve better than deciding between taking their medicine as prescribed, drugs like EpiPen and paying utility bills. Wouldn't you agree Ms. Avarice?"
"I'm just so worried and sympathetic to those people," said the Extort CEO. "But the real problem is that health insurers keep raising their prices. It's terrible when you walk up to a drugstore counter to order a medication. You don't even know if your insurer will pay for it. You need to look into that."
But Extort Pharmaceutical's business practices were questioned. Robert Frost, a reporter for the Daily Intelligencer, wanted to know why Avarice switched headquarters to The Netherlands. "Obviously, it was a tax dodge, wasn't it?"
"There's nothing wrong with seeking tax relief abroad. It just means more money for our deserving shareholders, many of whom are widows and orphans," Avarice explained.
"If you're so concerned about your shareholders' financial well-being, why did you get a pay raise from $2.5 million to $19 million in 2015?" was the follow up question from reporter Frost.
Avarice replied, "Because I make great decisions for widows and orphans like moving my company's headquarters abroad for tax evasion."