Mylan CEO Says EpiPen Price Increase Was Necessary as the Company Introduces a $300 Generic Option – People Magazine

Amid backlash after Mylan Pharmaceuticals announced it would raise the price of EpiPens to more than $600 for a two-pack of the life-saving auto-injectors, CEO Heather Bresch says the increase was necessary for the company’s bottom line.

“I am running a business,” Bresch told the New York Times. “I am a for-profit business. I am not hiding from that.”

Legislators, doctors and parents expressed outrage following the news of the price hike, a 400 percent increase since Mylan took over EpiPen in 2007, when a pack of auto-injectors cost around $100. The life-saving devices are crucial for severe allergy sufferers whose doctors insist they carry epinephrine with them at all times.

In response to the upset over the price increase, Mylan announced Monday that it would introduce the “first generic” EpiPen auto-injector, priced at $300 for a two-pack.

“We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of EpiPen to the patient, and have always shared the public’s desire to ensure that this important product be accessible to anyone who needs it,” Bresch said in a statement shared with PEOPLE. “Ensuring access to medicine is absolutely the core of Mylan’s mission and has been since our founding 55 years ago. We also are committed partners to the allergy community and take our responsibilities to serving these patients very seriously. Today’s action further demonstrates this commitment.”

Mylan also started offering additional coupons that some patients with insurance can use to reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Still, many people say that’s not enough and have accused Mylan of greed and price gouging. With no competition on the market from other companies or generic options, Mylan brings in $9.46 billion in revenue each year, according to Forbes.

Bresch says that rather than blaming Mylan for the price hikes, it’s insurance companies that are at fault for their increasingly high and inconsistent copays on pharmaceuticals.

“What else do you shop for that when you walk up to the counter, you have no idea what it’s going to cost you?” she asks the Times. “Tell me where that happens anywhere else in the system. It’s unconscionable.”

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Bresch – who reportedly has seen her salary increase from $2.5 million since the EpiPen deal in 2007 to nearly $19 million in 2015 – says her strong leadership style came from watching her dad rise to political office as a senator in West Virgina.

“There is a work ethic and grit about that that allows me to help make a difference,” she says. “To make change happen, to make a difference, mediocrity doesn’t get you there.”

And Bresch adds that any comparisons made between her and Martin Shkreli, who famously raised the price of malaria and HIV medicine Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 overnight, are off base – she says they’re not even in the “same hemisphere.”

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