The controversial former chair of the Michigan House Committee on Education, Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-86), bought a bill of goods in yet another Mylan EpiPen scam and brought Michigan schools with her. She sponsored and shepherded successful legislation to force all schools to purchase EpiPens based on a gratuitous initiative led by the mother of Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan — the manufacturer of the life-saving medical device which raised prices from around $100 to $600 in a newly created monopoly on the product under her leadership.
While the idea of stocking EpiPens in every school is certainly meritorious, the impetus behind the push appears much less than noble. Bresch’s mother, Gayle Manchin, assumed leadership of the National Association of State Boards of Education in 2012. That same year, Mylan sponsored a presentation to the association on the danger of food allergies. The connection between Mylan and the NASBE was further solidified through contributions from one to the other under their respective mother-daughter team, both of them having assumed their leadership positions in January of 2012.
The NASBE subsequently developed an Epinephrine Policy Initiative and accompanying Discussion Guide for dissemination among state leaders and lawmakers to provide policy guidelines for state boards of education.
In the discussion guide we find the heartbreaking story of a school child dying from anaphylaxis. (See insert from the guide – right.)
After the passage of Michigan’s EpiPen Law the following year, Rep. Lyons was asked by Legal News.com:
“How did you first become involved in this issue?”
Her response below, verbatim (emphasis mine):
Posthumus Lyons: Our schools are constantly revising policies and practices to ensure that our children are safe during the school day. As the chair of the House Education Committee and mother of four young children — one of whom suffered from a peanut allergy as a toddler and has thankfully outgrown — I’m very receptive to listening to other parents about their concerns relating to safety issues. This issue came to my attention when I heard the story of a seven-year-old girl in Virginia who suffered an anaphylactic reaction in school, brought on by a food allergy. Her school did not have an epinephrine injector known as an “EpiPen” on site and her physicians have stated that had she received the injection her life may have been saved. I don’t want that same tragedy to happen here in Michigan. Minutes matter when it comes to allergies, and I want to ensure our schools are able to respond in an emergency situation. I’m so thankful to the Legislature for passing, and to the Governor for signing this important legislation.
Did Lyons realize that her legislation made Michigan one of eleven states that bought into the Mylan monopoly? Probably not. At the time, few were aware of Mylan’s nefarious activities. However, the story is fluid, with continued testimony in Congressional hearings this week. Presumably, Miss Lyons has connected the dots by now, and, no, Lyons has no record of accepting money from Mylan.