Health

Mylan CEO Won't Apologize For EpiPen Price Hikes

| by Sarah Zimmerman
Mylan CEO Heather BreschMylan CEO Heather Bresch

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is refusing to apologize for the extreme price hikes on the EpiPen, a lifesaving medication for those with severe allergies. 

In only a few years, the cost of the EpiPen rose almost 600 percent. The increase has caused families to send their children to school with expired EpiPens, hoping that in the case of anaphylactic shock, the medication will still work, according to The Guardian. 

An EpiPen two-pack currently costs $608, which is up from the $100 it cost in 2009, according to USA Today. But, despite the extraordinary price hike, Bresch isn't apologizing or lowering the EpiPen's price.

"I know there is considerable concern and skepticism about the pricing," she went on to say during a House Oversight Committee meeting. "I think many people incorrectly assume we make $600 off each EpiPen. This is simply not true."

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There seems to be bipartisan agreement in the House that Mylan's price increases were not necessary, especially as Bresch and four other top executives have earned $292.1 million over five years, reports Time. 

The Guardian suggests the EpiPen's high price has made families face difficult decisions, wondering if they should pay their mortgages or the cost of their child's EpiPen. 

Nonetheless, Bresch maintains that her decision to raise prices has not affected families in the least, and that her company has been able to strike a fair balance been the product's demand and giving consumers fair access.

“Price and access exist in a balance, and we believe we have struck that balance,” she said during the House Oversight meeting.   

For the millions of Americans who go into anaphylaxis when exposed to allergens, they have no choice but to continue buying EpiPens in case they are met with a life-threatening situation. Mylan has a near monopoly on the product, so other, less-expensive alternatives are almost impossible to find. 

"Looking back, I wish we had better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration of the rising financial issues for a growing minority of patients who may have ended up paying [full price]," said Bresch. "We never intended this. We listened and focused on this issue and came up with a sustainable solution."

Bresch's reasoning to raise prices has yet to convince members of Congress or members of the public. Time reports that a single EpiPen costs $30 to produce, so Mylan's price hikes appear to critics as way to increase profits.

Sources: USA Today, The GuardianTime / Photo credit: AP/YouTube via USA Today

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