(Bloomberg) — Drugmakers are learning to duck for cover when Hillary Clinton puts them in her sights.
The Democratic presidential nominee’s influence was on display again Wednesday, when she sent Mylan NV’s shares plummeting as much as much as 6.2 percent within minutes of calling for the company to drop prices of its EpiPen emergency allergy shot. It marked the third time over the past year that Clinton’s comments roiled drug stocks.
Mylan announced Thursday it would take immediate action to address the criticism, saying it would cut the cost of the allergy shot by expanding already-existing programs to help people with high-out-of-pocket expenses.
By using a savings card, patients will get as much as $300 toward their EpiPen 2-Pak, effectively reducing costs by 50 percent for those who were previously paying the company’s full list price, the drugmaker said in a statement. The company is also doubling eligibility for its patient assistance program.
Mylan shares had been slumping since Friday, after several members of Congress, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, began demanding explanations for the more than 400 percent price increase for the auto-injectors since 2007. But after Clinton issued her statement blasting Mylan at 1:09 p.m. Wednesday, the stock immediately started a decline that extended until 2:34 p.m. when shares hit $42.93, a 5.5 percent decrease.
Her remarks, calling Mylan the “latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers,” also sent the broader 144-member Nasdaq Biotechnology Index tumbling as much as 3.6 percent Wednesday. Mylan didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Clinton has repeatedly criticized aggressive drug pricing and tax avoidance practices. Yet with most national polls giving her wide margins over Republican nominee Donald Trump, her statements are being taken more seriously.
Clinton’s statement renewed investors’ fear of “more political risk around drug pricing concerns and potential changes in the future,” Michael Yee, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said Wednesday in a note to clients.
“This risk is not going to just go away, but it has been quieter and lower in the political agenda over the last six months and just happens to be something new that has come up after nothing much recently and after a big biotech rally and investors were taken by surprise,” Yee said.
Clinton drove down the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index on the morning of Sept. 21, 2015, when she tweeted: “Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to take it on.”
The statement came amid the public outcry against Martin Shkreli, the former Turing Pharmaceuticals AG chief executive officer who boosted the cost of, Daraprim, a decade-old medicine by 50-fold to $750 a pill. Her tweet set off a 5 percent drop of the index that extended for more than two hours.
Earlier this year, Clinton also piled on to a three-year low for Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. when her campaign announced plans for ads targeting what she called the company’s “predatory pricing.” The stock was already under pressure from news about scrutiny by Canadian regulators and a newly disclosed U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.