Mylan CEO defends EpiPen prices


The head of pharmaceutical company Mylan is defending the cost for life-saving EpiPens, signaling the company has no plans to lower prices despite a public outcry and questions from skeptical lawmakers.

In testimony for Congress, CEO Heather Bresch says she believes Mylan has struck a balance between price and access to the drug. The price of EpiPens has grown to $608 for a two-pack, an increase of more than 500 percent since 2007.

Bresch says the company does not want to go back to a time when awareness of allergic reactions was much lower and many schools did not stock the drug.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says high executive pay at pharmaceutical company Mylan “doesn’t add up for a lot of people” as the company has raised the price for the life-saving EpiPen.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah says executives for the company made $300 million over five years while the list price for a pair of the emergency allergy shots has risen to more than $600.

Chaffetz says parents don’t have a choice.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is testifying before the panel Wednesday. Bresch says the company makes only $50 in profit on each EpiPen.

Chaffetz says he finds that “a little hard to believe.”

The top Democrat on the House committee says Mylan has not turned over figures detailing its profits from the emergency injection.

Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland is the ranking member on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He says Americans have a right to know how much Mylan executives are making off what he calls “exorbitant prices.”

Cummings is pressing the CEO on how many units Mylan sold last year. Bresch says roughly 4 million packs.

A senior Food and Drug Administration official says the agency cannot approve generic versions of EpiPen if manufacturers do not submit them.

The FDA’s Dr. Douglas Throckmorton is telling House lawmakers that his agency has given the drug industry suggestions for developing drug injectors like EpiPen.

Lawmakers have pressed the FDA in recent days on what can be done to create more competition for Mylan’s EpiPen.

The agency has a backlog of generic drugs under review, including a version of EpiPen from competitor Teva Pharmaceuticals. But the company said earlier this year that regulators had found problems with its application. Teva’s drug and several others aren’t expected to hit the market until 2017 or later.

Heather Bresch
Heather Bresch

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