Mylan faced major backlash after they raised the cost of the life saving allergy medicine this week.
Mylan came under fire after it recently hiked the price of their EpiPen, a life saving allergy shot. They have now decided to offer the medicine at a discount price for some patients.
In a statement, the company said it will use a savings card “which will cover up to $300” for the medicine. Mylen claims that those who “were previously paying the full amount of the company’s list price for EpiPen®, this effectively reduces their out-of-pocket cost exposure by 50%.”
CEO Heather Bresch said:
We have been a long-term, committed partner to the allergy community and are taking immediate action to help ensure that everyone who needs an EpiPen® Auto-Injector gets one. We recognize the significant burden on patients from continued, rising insurance premiums and being forced increasingly to pay the full list price for medicines at the pharmacy counter. Patients deserve increased price transparency and affordable care, particularly as the system shifts significant costs to them. However, price is only one part of the problem that we are addressing with today’s actions. All involved must also take steps to help meaningfully address the U.S. healthcare crisis, and we are committed to do our part to drive change in collaboration with policymakers, payors, patients and healthcare professionals.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Mylan and other drug companies said “insurance plans that force consumers to pay an ever-larger share of drug costs out of pocket, and note that few health insurers and drug-benefit managers pay a drug’s list price because of rebates and discounts.”
Mylan said they will expand its patient assistance program to “cover those with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, compared with 200 percent presently.” The company will also allow the patients to order the medicine “directly from the company.”
The drastic change has caught the eye of Congress, which has demanded more answers from Mylan:
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the chair and ranking Democrat of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, sent a letter to Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch seeking information on the company’s pricing practices.
Since 2007, the price of EpiPen, a commonly used epinephrine auto-injector that treats severe allergic reactions, has shot up by 400 percent to $600. Last year, more than 3.6 million prescriptions for EpiPen were written.
“We are concerned that these drastic price increases could have a serious effect on the health and well-being of everyday Americans,” the letter says. “We are particularly concerned that seniors have access to EpiPen because, according to Mylan’s website, older Americans ‘may be at an increased risk of having a more severe anaphylactic reaction if they are exposed to biting and stinging insects.’ ”
Mylan bought the rights to EpiPen in 2007. They raised the price by 5% in 2008 and 2009. Then they hiked it up 19% at the end of 2009. Between 2010-2013 they raised it 10% each year.
Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton even lashed out at Mylan:
“It’s wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them,” Clinton said in a statement.
However, Mylan contradicted Clinton’s statement:
Mylan also said that more than half the amount paid by the health care system for EpiPens goes to pharmacy benefit managers, insurers, wholesalers and pharmacy retailers, not to the company itself.
The company said its net price for the product — what it actually receives after rebates, discounts, patient assistance and product donations — is $274 of the list price of $608, resulting in annual sales of $1.1 billion to the company from the product. The other parties, it said, get $334 per prescription, or $1.3 billion a year.
The EpiPen contains epinephrine, a hormone, “which can be used to counter or stave off anaphylactic shock caused by an insect bite or food allergy.”
But CEO Bresch, the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) received a YUGE pay raise between 2007-2015:
Proxy filings show that from 2007 to 2015, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch’s total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a 671 percent increase. During the same period, the company raised EpiPen prices, with the average wholesale price going from $56.64 to $317.82, a 461 percent increase, according to data provided by Connecture.
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