One of the best things to come out of the whole EpiPen debacle is EpiPen Tycoon, a game that lets you jack up the prices of the lifesaving allergy treatment as much as possible before the angry Twitter mobs take over. Now we can all be greedy CEOs.
"You are Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan, the maker of EpiPens," the introductory page instructs. "Your shareholders want results. Your customers want to not die of anaphylactic shock. It’s up to you to jack the price as high as you can."
Bresch is one of the most unpopular women in America right now after everyone realized that her company hiked EpiPen prices by over $400 in the past few years — even though there’s only about $1 worth of medication in the devices. At the same time that the pen became too expensive for those with deadly allergies, Bresch got a 600 percent pay raise. She’s a pro at this game.
Mylan has tried to address the criticism by offering coupons and then a generic competitor to its own product. Their efforts at saying sorry don’t seem to have worked, but that’s OK because their failed PR tour gave us this game, and this game is a delight.
Raise the price too high, you end up "trending on Twitter" or people protest outside your third vacation home. Everyone is furious at you, just like they were at real-life Bresch when Hillary Clinton, the American Medical Association, and various senators all called on Mylan to lower the EpiPen price.
You can lower the price, offer a token subsidy, or blame Obamacare. But if your heart grows too soft, your own salary goes down, shareholders are mad, and you might just lose that vacation home. If you cash out, Martin Shkreli, another much-hated man in pharma, takes over the company. This game is too good.