What Young Professionals Can Learn from Comey

AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / Getty Images

I have some new-found free time, and I used some of that free time today to watch the Comey hearing. Regardless of how you feel about the current investigation, I think that young professionals can learn a lot from how James Comey conducts himself not only in a political hearing, but in a professional way. Comey is in no-doubt a seasoned professional. He served four of his ten year term as FBI director, but he served as a US Attorney beforehand, and worked on some pretty high-profile cases. He’s the one who brought charges against Martha Stewart, of which she was found guilty on all counts. Here’s what I noticed from Comey’s testimony today that I thought was relevant to professional situations.

  1. Be honest.

    Comey’s testimony revealed a lot of truths about the investigation. Obviously, when someone is under an oath and on-the-record, we assume that their statements are true. But Comey answered all questions posed to him, as long as the question was able to be answered in a public hearing. This is in stark contrast to the hearing yesterday, where members of the intelligence committee refused to comment on specific conversations with the president.

    Young professionals would be good to follow suit in most situations, if presented. Honesty has always been my policy, and it’s certain that an honest professional is more credible than one who dodges questions. Whether in politics or otherwise, nobody wants to speak with someone who withholds information or lies.

  2. Sometimes, be quiet.

    I heard a commentator on CNN who was disgruntled with Comey’s actions when he didn’t tell President Trump up-front that his actions were dishonest, but instead took notes. I found this notion absurd. I have been in situations where I have felt uncomfortable about a colleague’s dialogue, but have kept it private. In this way, I think Comey was right in his action to not immediately disclose his conversations with the President when he knew it was possibly unethical, even unconstitutional. Comey likely knew this was likely to end up the way it has ended up. He was wise, and was quiet. He released the information, and kept track of the occasions that there were discrepancies, and then when the time came he was ready to defend himself.

    I think this lesson goes past the communication profession and extends to working relationships in general. When dealing with unruly bosses, creepy superiors, or even just a disgruntled coworker, it never hurts to document what happened, even if just to cover your own butt. Sometimes you may never have to use this information against a coworker or in defense of your own person, but it’s just for your own safety. I have kept information for this reason in the past, and I have never found myself in a position where I had to report it to my superior or a member of HR, but I do not regret documenting it. Hopefully you never have to use it either, but until that time, in some situations, it’s best to keep to yourself. Just like Comey.

  3. Always take notes.

    Like the above post, notes, or documentation of hostile or unethical instances, often does more than benefit yourself. In the case of James Comey, it made him a more credible source for information when he was asked to testify. And, his forethought to take detailed notes of encounters with the President and other important officials gave him materials he was able to then turn into the acting Attorney General for evidence to prove his case.

    I am a podcast fan. In one of my favorite podcasts, Serial, Adnan Syed is asked about six weeks after a specific day when his girlfriend goes missing what he did that day. Adnan, regarding the day in question as a normal day, says he doesn’t remember what he did, specifically in the hours in question, when they believe the murder was committed. For this reason, among others, Adnan is still in prison fifteen years later. I don’t want to go too deep into this true crime drama, but basically, sometimes having an alibi can keep you out of trouble if you were ever accused of something, be it a murder or a bold email to a boss. I keep a planner, so due to my excellent organization skills, I would like to think that within reason, I can go back and recount my schedule. Comey can do the same thing on these pivotal moments due to his notes. While I’m not suggesting young professionals should be constantly preparing themselves for testimony, it’s important to be accountable. Taking notes in meetings ensures you remember the main talking points, but specifically, you remember the tasks your boss asked you to complete. After an hour long meeting, do you remember everything your boss said? I’m not implying that you don’t listen in meetings, but sometimes, it’s hard to keep track of all that information without a written record. At least, for me. I would argue that taking notes and writing down my schedule offer me many distinct advantages in my organization. Comey would likely agree that a written record, whether that’s notes or keeping an agenda, is probably a good idea.

  4. Never skip dinner with your wife.

    Comey was asked at one point in the testimony about the dinner he had with Trump, where one of the most objectionable statements was allegedly made, Trump asking Comey to “let [Mike Flynn] go.” In this situation, Comey describes the instance Trump called him and asked him to come to dinner. Comey says he had to cancel a prior engagement with his wife to attend dinner with the President. In retrospect, Comey said he wishes he would have kept his previous engagement and enjoys spending time with his wife. The moral of this story, of course, is not a professional one. But regardless, you should never skip dinner with your wife.

Sources:
All information included about the Comey testimony and prior testimony of intelligence officials received from live CNN coverage. Live updates can be found here.

Image of James Comey. AFP photo by Saul Loeb, Getty Images. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/james-comey-testimony-photos_us_59394c64e4b0061054801922

Background information about James Comey retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/us/james-comey-fast-facts/index.html

Find more information about Serial (it’s a great podcast) at https://serialpodcast.org/

 

Did Trump Actually Run a “Great” PR Campaign?

Whether you like it or not, Trump’s PR team might have actually had a good thing going.

Personally, while I do respect our President-elect as much as I can, as a woman this election upset me in a lot of ways. Now that the election is over and I have had a little time to mourn, I can be honest: Trump obviously did something right. A strategic business man, he won the electoral vote, not the popular vote, which he knew was what really mattered in the end. And, his PR team played a huge part in it. For all the things I can’t say about his campaign that are “right,” here’s what Trump did well during this election cycle:

Earned Media

We’ve figured out by now that our new President-elect is not fond of the media. However, Trump walked away from this election with a victory and over $2 billion dollars in earned media (Confessore). In addition to having almost double the TV ad buys that the Clinton camp possessed, it meant total media domination for Trump. In the month of February alone, Trump earned $400 million dollars worth of earned media, the same amount McCain spent on his entire campaign (Confessore). His methods may have been extremely unconventional, but for that reason, the media has essentially been forced to cover them. All that free media not only makes him a wise businessman, but essentially a PR guru.

Stuck to his Message

He may have been outlandish, but no one can deny his consistency. His messages, no matter how bigoted, were certainly consistent, and that rhetoric really resonated with his audience. Twitter became a place for him to push his agenda on a great scale, and he often bypassed media to set his own agenda during the election cycle.

Social Media

This is tough for me, and probably the rest of the world, to admit, but Twitter was Trump’s playground during the election. Hillary’s account was conventionally awesome, it was consistent, contained a great deal of scheduled content, and stuck to her message. While her social media team can be applauded, the only one to thank for Trump’s tweet notoriety is himself. He alone created more conflict and set the agenda better than any social media team could have ever done. And while it didn’t always directly benefit him, it certainly kept people talking.

Hired Some Women

This isn’t a note about Trump’s PR, but about his staff as a whole. While his rhetoric towards women is overall degrading and degenerative, it’s true that a great deal of his staff was female. Both of his head spokespersons, Katrina Pieterson and KellyAnne Conway are female. While I am not the biggest fan of either of them, that is not the entirety of his female staff, and he deserves credit for being an equal opportunity employer.

So, with a hearty PR effort from the Trump team, maybe Trump really can make America great again. I’m not sure that KellyAnne and I think “great” means the same thing, but hey, I give credit where credit is due, and Trump’s PR efforts are likely the reason he’s about to become President.

 

Sources Cited:
Confessore, N., & Yourish, K. (2016, March 16). $2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Donald Trump. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html

Sparrer, C. (2016, December 8). Did Trump Run the Best PR Campaign of 2016? Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/prnewser/did-trump-run-the-best-pr-campaign-of-2016/123840

 

One Chili’s Ruins Veterans Day for All Chili’s, Everywhere

“On a day where we served more than 200,000 free meals as a small gesture of our appreciation for our veterans and active military for their service, we fell short,” said Kelli Valade, President of Chili’s Bar and Grill in a statement released following a 11/11 PR fiasco (Brinker). You can watch the event go down in the Facebook post that has gone viral, here. The abbreviated version goes as follows, a Trump supporter, also a veteran, suspected a man, named Ernest Walker, wasn’t actually a veteran, and that his service dog was not a service dog. This man’s suspicion led the manager of the said Chili’s (located a stone’s throw from Denton in Cedar Hill, Texas), to question Walker’s veteran status and service dog (Wright).

If you weren’t aware, you can’t question a service dog. It’s part of the ADA law that says, basically, if your dog helps with your disability, it’s a service dog. I worked with a nonprofit for adults with disabilities, and I am very familiar with this law. No place of business is allowed to question you about it, so if you believe the dog helps you and is worthy, you can bring it in. Asking about a service dog’s credibility is ILLEGAL, no matter what the instance, so that action was Chili’s first boo-boo. Their managers should know this law, and the fact that the one in the video doesn’t shows he probably shouldn’t be manager in the first place.

Full disclosure, I worked at a Chili’s in high school and had a very positive experience. My managers were excellent and I enjoyed working under Brinker, the parent company of Chili’s, and I do believe in their merit as a company. All of my experiences, for the most part, were great. I know this is probably not everyone’s experience, and I know not all management is great. I understand that. But here’s the thing I can’t get over: it was one free meal. The manager had already given this man a free, rightfully-deserved meal, as Chili’s gives to all veterans who show valid military ID on Veteran’s day. Why did he feel it was necessary to take it away? A single free meal, regardless of what it was, should mean absolutely nothing to Chili’s. Especially if he had a service dog, why would he question this man’s validity? Who knows.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-10-49-30-pm

But, in this instance, most people assume racism. Even though that might not be the case, it looks bad for Brinker at every angle on this one. Which, if you work for Chili’s or Brinker, is a big bummer. Like Valade said, Chili’s gave away 200,000 free meals, and made a lot of veterans feel appreciated and valued. And over 200,000 did. They left with free food in their bellies and gratitude for the brand. But, since one manager messed up, all of that work goes unnoticed, and one ruining just one veteran’s experience on veteran’s day is cruel, any way you slice it. I’m sorry for your loss, Brinker, and I am sorry for Ernest Walker’s terrible Chili’s experience. A GoFundMe has been set up in his name, and has raised near $6,000 for his “dinner,” and I have to think that that much money, from the goodwill of the internet, not Brinker, has got to help ease the pain. And, as someone who knows from experience that not all Chili’s are bad, take it from me: Brinker did more good than bad on November 11th, and while the public may never recognize it, 200,000 veterans are thankful, and that’s important too.

 

Sources Cited:

Brinker. (n.d.). Open Letter from Kelli Valade, President of Chili’s® Grill & Bar. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://brinker.mediaroom.com/newsreleases?item=135354

Wright, I. J. (2016, November 15). Chili’s Crisis Proves How Little It Takes to Sink a PR Effort. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/chilis-veterans-day

 

Snapbots: A Solid PR Stunt When America Needs it Most

by Maddie Migis

snapbot

America is done. Tired of hearing about nothing but Trump and Clinton for the past three months, and in some cases, defeated by the results. So, in the midst of a lot of nasty hate language, protests, and non-stop news coverage, America was aching for a good PR campaign.

Insert Snapchat’s Snapbot–selling spectacles, a limited-range pair of video-capturing glasses that retails, only in the Snapbot, for $129. The spectacles are meant for recording video, like snapchat, and the video can be synced to the app accordingly (Heath). It’s definitely a boutique product, only for the most dedicated snappers, or those very concerned with documenting their life in real-time.

It’s a great and hopeful thing at a dismal time. And, priced at $129, the spectacles are accessible to many demographics (Wright). If consumers are dedicated enough, and lucky enough, the spectacles would be a very impressive Christmas gift.

The whole experience is really cool. Snapbots all come with a user interface that helps users decide between the three available colors–black, coral, and teal–by showing how each color would look on their face (Wright). In this way, Snapchat was able to come up with a clever way around the vending machine’s inability to allow customers to try on glasses.

So far, the Snapbots have only been spotted in Venice Beach, California (Heath). It seems that the Snapbots will be the only way for people to get their hands on spectacles. The Snapbots will only be in one place at one time, and the only tell of their location will appear on a map 24 hours before they show up at their ever-elusive locations. It’s fun, surprising, and accessible, to a lucky few. It’s the PR campaign America needs right now.

I am not so dedicated to the brand, and most consumers aren’t either. That’s why the exclusivity of the product works so well. The Snapbots ended up being just what the public has needed in a time of unrest and disagreeance, little bots that look like minions but spit out video-glasses (Wright). It’s the little things in life. Thanks, Snapchat, for a great PR campaign and a good distraction from what’s actually going on in our country.

Sources Cited:

Heath, A. (2016, November 10). Snapchat will sell its Spectacles camera glasses through pop-up vending machines. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/snapchat-spectacles-vending-machines-2016-11
Wright, I. J. (2016, November 10). Snapchat Spectacles’ Spectacular PR-Stunt Launch. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/snapchat-spectacles-launch

Subway Can’t Shake Jared’s Personal Crisis

The once-spokesperson’s seedy reputation still means bad business for Subway

by Maddie Migis

Jared Fogle is synonymous with Subway, due to his long-standing promotional deal with them, in which, on a diet of Subway sandwiches, he lost a large amount of weight. But, unfortunately for Subway, Fogle’s name is still synonymous with the brand, even after he was sentenced to sixteen years in prison for charges related to child pornography and soliciting sex from minors. Even though the conviction came after Fogle had cut his ties with the corporation, the public still very much associates the Fogle with Subway.

jared-fogle

Now Fogle is back in the spotlight yet again, but this time, for something his wife says Subway, not Jared, did wrong. She says that she thinks Subway could have been aware of Jared’s perversions all along. This comes in conjunction with evidence that in 2004, Fogle approached a young girl and asked about a sex act in Las Vegas at a Subway event. In addition to this, she’s suing for a number of damages, saying that Subway worked for their expansion at the expenditure of Fogle’s wife and children.

Subway was where I had my first job. Being a “sandwich artist” wasn’t the best job I’ve ever had, but I remember it fondly, as most people probably remember their first jobs. For $7.25 an hour, I was stoked to even be getting a paycheck, and free sandwiches. But Jared is synonymous with the brand for me, too. Back then, Jared was still a fixture of Subway’s promotional materials, from cups to signage, he was on it all.

Subway got such a big boost from the campaigns Jared Fogle was a part of, I don’t think anyone my age or older will forget Jared Fogle’s ties to Subway for a long time. Maybe Subway will one day be able to bury the hatchet that is Jared Fogle, but for now, the man is a constant stain on Subway’s reputation, and they’ll have to do some serious rebranding before people will forget. It’s not necessarily Subway’s fault that Jared was such a nasty guy, but regardless, they’ll be paying for it for a while. Apologies, whether warranted or not, maybe the the only way for Subway to keep swimming.

Sources Cited:

Arenstein, S. (2016, October 25). Jared’s Crisis Lingers Over Subway. Retrieved October 27, 2016, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/prnewsblog/jareds-crisis-lingers-over-subway/

Buckley, M. (2016, October 24). Jared Fogle’s ex-wife alleges Subway knew of his ‘depravities’ Retrieved October 27, 2016, from http://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/hamilton-county/2016/10/24/jared-fogles-ex-wife-sues-subway/92678014/

Jared Fogle [Photograph found in Subway]. (2015, July 7). In Eater.com. Retrieved October 27, 2016, from http://www.eater.com/2015/7/7/8906389/fbi-raided-home-of-subway-guy-jared-fogle

CoverGirl’s First CoverBoy

CoverGirl, a drugstore beauty staple, has been picking a diverse lineup of women to represent it’s makeup for decades. Beginning with powerful female role models of multiple races and sexual orientations, like Queen Latifah and Ellen, from new up-and coming celebrities, like Zendaya.

But CoverGirl has picked a new “Cover Girl,” aka brand ambassador, and he’s not a girl at all. He’s a 17-year-old high-school student named James Charles, and his beauty skills are unparalleled.

CoverGirl has been trying really hard to reach the millennial marketplace. I can tell because I always see their promoted tweets (for Katy Perry’s lipstick line) on my timeline. They’re absolutely relentless. Katy Perry’s new cosmetics line is minimally packaged and edgy, with cute, kitschy names for her lipstick shades that makes them appealing to young women. But choosing Charles as an ambassador is a whole new kind of genius.

Social media influencers like Charles have a crazy amount of influence with their followers. James Charles has 613k of them. Let alone he’s a male, part of a demographic that’s growing in popularity. Many male makeup influencers have large followings on social media and popular YouTube channels.

By picking James Charles as a “Cover Girl,” CoverGirl makes friends with all the millennials who love the progressive side of the makeup industry, where anyone can rock a smokey eye and a nude lip. Coleman undoubtedly has the skill to play with a major brand, though he’s just 17.

The internet’s reaction to Charles’s new ambassador position has been beaming. The internet loves that a well-deserving (well-liked) male makeup artist gets recognized by a big brand. CoverGirl is asking people to welcome him to the GoverGirl lineup with the hashtag #COVERGIRLJames, and he’s gotten lots of love. Thanks CoverGirl, and thanks James Charles, for your amazing makeup looks, I hope there’s many more to come. And can we talk about his highlight? #SLAY

 

 

Sources Cited:

Allen, K. (2016, October 13). CoverGirl taps YouTube star to be its first CoverBoy. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/21575.aspxSources Cited:

Feldman, J. (2016, October 11). Meet the First Ever Male CoverGirl, James Charles. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cover-girl-boy-james-charles_us_57fbf36ee4b0b6a43034bd60

 

Dunkin Donuts and Coke Join Forces, Fight Starbucks

By Maddie Migis

Luckily, coffee and coke isn’t a combo you’ll see on the market anytime soon. However, coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts is partnering with Coca-Cola to try and make their entry into the packaged coffee market. Recently, Dunkin’ Donuts has suffered from a drop in in-store sales. The two companies will pair together to try to slow Starbucks’ bottled iced coffee roll. Starbucks has made great efforts to promote their new line of iced coffee, and they plan to expand upon their products. In 2017, Starbucks will begin to offer iced bottled Teavana tea options, for which they have partnered with Anheuser-Busch to bottle (Patton).

images
Dunkin Donuts pans to enter the bottled iced coffee market in 2017.

Coca-Cola is likely trying to use Dunkin Donuts’ bottled coffee opportunity to help their stock, which like Dunkin’s is also down. Hoping to stop a downward spiral for both Coke and Dunkin Donuts, is this bottled coffee move the right one for the business? Dunkin Donuts may be down in in-store sales, but they have a successful and quite large grocery store presence. Hopefully, the bottled iced coffee will be sold at a price point that’s cheaper than Starbucks, and therefore more accessible to the millennial market Dunkin’s desperately trying to grab the attention of (Patton). Ready-to-drink coffee sales have increased as consumers have shied away from all the negative aspects of soda (Allen). Consumers want the caffeine they need without the nastiness of soda, and Starbucks has done a great job.

Starbucks is the current market leader, and if Dunkin’s bottled iced coffee rollout is successful, they could lose some of their market share, and Dunkin and Coke could both use that share desperately (Allen). I think that if Dunkin Donuts is going to try to appeal to the fast-paced millennial market, they’re going to need some rebranding. Their logo is out of date, and if they repositioned themselves as trendy and low-cost, they might just be able to give Starbucks a run for their money.

 

 

Sources Cited:

Allen, K. (2016, October 6). Coke and Dunkin’ Donuts team up to challenge Starbucks. Retrieved October 06, 2016, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/21533.aspx

Dunkin Donuts. (n.d.). Image [PNG]. Dunkin Donuts Nutrition.https://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/nutrition.html

Patton, L. (2016, September 29). Dunkin’ Donuts Partners With Coca-Cola for Bottled Iced Coffees. Retrieved October 06, 2016, from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-29/dunkin-donuts-partners-with-coca-cola-for-bottled-iced-coffees

 

Taco Bell Gets the Millennial Market: Pop Up Arcade in NY

taco-bell-arcade-hed-2016
Taco Bell’s VR Arcade. Image courtesy of AdWeek

I want to get it out there and say that Taco Bell has one of my favorite brand presences. I can probably count the times I have eaten there on one hand (seriously, gross food) but amazing branding. And while I can’t say I’ll be eating any Taco Bell soon, I talk about their brand all the time. Their Instagram is probably one of the best in the business, and their social overall is trendy in the best kind of way.

Taco Bell doesn’t seem to be slowing their roll on social, as they staged a pop up Virtual Reality Arcade in SOHO, New York, open today and tomorrow, September 16th and 17th (Ad Week). The arcade is part of an ongoing collaboration with Sony, which is launching its Playstation VR later this year, and Taco Bell, which was promoting a new menu item, the Cheddar Habanero Quesarito (Berg).

The whole space is set to be a playground for social media, and great for both brands’ images. The arcade includes a station where visitors can make taco-themed GIFs, snap pictures of taco art, and taste free samples of a few menu items, including the Cheddar Habanero Quesarito that Taco Bell is promoting. A product  by USA Today’s Ted Berg recieved rave reviews, saying “The Cheddar Habanero Quesaritos mark the unveiling of yet another version of a spicy cheese sauce, and this one, too, is excellent. Complementing the traditional melted cheese in the quesadilla part of the Quesarito, it packs legit heat and melty, cheesy goodness” (Berg). That’s pretty high praise for Mexican fast food.

Overall, as a brand, Taco Bell has great PR. Their brand content is fun, refreshing and eye-catching. Their use of colors, graphic images, and of course, tacos, appeals to Millennials in ways that few brands do. And while their amazing brand image hasn’t made me want to start eating there, I use them as a source of inspiration for how fun and exciting content can be, even tho

Wells Fargo Goes too Far: Bashes Arts in Ad for Teens

by Maddie Migis
@maddiemigis

When the arts lose, everyone loses. But, a lot of talk recently has focused on the lack of people entering STEM fields, and many job vacancies. But when Wells Fargo published ads promoting their Teen Day event, people took up arms for the arts.

WellsFargo
Image courtesy of Forbes

The first ad reads “A ballerina yesterday. An Engineer today. Let’s get them ready for tomorrow.” The other reads “An actor yesterday. A botanist today. Let’s get them ready for tomorrow.

The public, especially artists, reacted exactly how Wells Fargo wouldn’t want them to: withdrawing their money from their bank. Wells Fargo, it appears, was unaware artists could make money until all the artists took their money somewhere else.

Other artists suggested a permanent and noteworthy change to The Music Man, a musical (with actors, directors, dancers, stage technicians, etc.) that features a Wells Fargo Wagon.

To make it worse, Wells Fargo had THIS to say:

That little quib at the end about $93 million dollars seems like too little, too late, Wells Fargo. And also, where them numbers at? You need to show your publics in PR you care, not just tell them that you care. The brand hasn’t tweeted anything else since. It’s safe to say they might be a little concerned about what they’re going to say next.

They haven’t posted anything but their initial apology, so there’s no knowing how they will try to recover their image or their many artistic clients. But I would guess Wells Fargo has some apologizing to do. I would recommend setting up a charity or separate fund devoted to encouraging and helping young artist achieve their goals, despite financial setbacks, or even a new ad campaign targeted at success that isn’t based on whether or not a teen wants to pursue an artistic career.

 

Sources Cited:
Willingham, Emily. “Wells Fargo Encourages Budding Actors to Be Botanists And Then Apologizes.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 04 Sept. 2016. Web. 04 Sept. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2016/09/04/wells-fargo-encourages-budding-actors-to-become-botanists-and-apologizes/#57851bb4a56c>.

Reinstein, Julia. “People Are Saying This Wells Fargo Ad Discourages Teens From Pursuing Arts.” BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed News, 03 Sept. 2016. Web. 03 Sept. 2016. <https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliareinstein/o-ho-the-wells-fargo-wagon-is-a-comin-down?bftw&utm_term=.lujYGyog3#.dlpwKv9o6>.

 

 

Mylan Majorly Messes Up: My Take on Another Big Pharma Goof

by Maddie Migis
@maddiemigis

When the price of Mylan’s EpiPen skyrocketed late this summer, the public fought back. EpiPens are essential to many who suffer from severe allergic reactions, and a 400% price increase raising the cost of the pen to $600 made the pen—a necessity to many—inaccessible (Arenstein, PR News).

Why did Mylan raise the price of the Epipen by 400%? We really don’t know, and Mylan still hasn’t told consumers why. What we do know is that when Mylan acquired the Epipen, the cost was $57 (Willingham, Forbes). We also know about CEO Heather Bresch, now lovingly referred to as the “pharma sis” to Martin Skhreli’s “pharma bro” has also benefitted from a hefty salary increase, no surprise there.

The public, still stewing from big pharma’s own frat boy Martin Shkreli’s heinous and greedy price raise in an equally important drug, Daraprim, from $13.50 to $750 overnight, responded appropriately (Mclean, CNN). Needless to say, Mylan couldn’t have picked a worse time to raise a drug price. But let’s be real, any time would be a bad time to raise the price of such an essential medicine. Denying access to the EpiPen evokes images of a six-year-old, sitting at his lunch table, going into anaphylactic shock after taking a bite of his friend’s pb & j. Mylan, you goofed, big time.

Mylan has already released a hefty discount coupon that reduces “50% off list price” for patients without insurance. But is it enough? I don’t think so. The press release on their media newsroom talks big—and promises a lot of things, including a claim that most people will pay nothing out of pocket on their insurance plans, but they still aren’t planning on lowering the price. Instances like this remind people how greedy pharmaceutical companies can be. It leaves a bad taste in anyone’s mouth to hear that the EpiPen, a product that can, in some situations, mean the difference between life or death, is no longer affordable to most uninsured—or even some insured—people. Mylan claims it has worked with insurance companies, but I can’t believe it.

As someone who grew out of an allergy to ants and bees, I can say my family still paid a large out-of-pocket cost for my EpiPen two-packs (because this is something you should have two of… they’re that important) despite my father’s excellent health insurance.

mylanepipen

Mylan might find themselves in a proverbial pickle, as many angry consumers posted a meme, showing prices upwards of $600 at most pharmacies, and the cost of an Epinephrine vial and a 1 cc syringe, the same medicine, without the “pen” would come out to a mere $10. While not a feasible option to all, I’m sure many will now ask their doctors to teach them how to administer the shots and save a lot of money.

Mylan’s epic pharma fail also leaves room for the FDA and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to encourage other companies attempting to bring a reasonable EpiPen competitor to the market (Arenstein, PR News). Either way, I hope that the greedy mistake Mylan made with their EpiPen price spike tanks the company. And it just may—last week, the price of Mylan’s stock had already dropped 11%.

 

Sources Cited

An image of the EpiPen prices at pharmacies, compared with the cost of an Epinephrine injection and syringe. Digital image. Reddit. Allergic2Shellfish, 26 Aug. 2016. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.

Arenstein, Seth. “Digging Deeper on the EpiPen Crisis.” PR News Blog. PR News, 31 Aug. 2016. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.

Mclean, Robert. “Martin Shkreli on Drug Price Hike: ‘$1 Billion Here We Come'” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 3 Feb. 2016. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.

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