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Mylan CEO Defends EpiPen Price Increases

Posted 01 December 2016 | By Zachary Brennan 

Mylan CEO Defends EpiPen Price Increases

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch on Thursday defended the more than 400% price increase for its life-saving EpiPen, saying the company has made the device “more ergonomic” and that patients “never see the needle.”

"When people realize what we have invested in ... this device has 15 critical components in it, I wouldn't undermine its importance," Bresch, who declined to attend a Senate committee hearing on the price increases earlier this week, told the Forbes Healthcare Summit, using examples of what the EpiPen looked like before Mylan acquired it and afterwards.

"We work to innovate with different dosage forms," she added, noting the company takes full responsibility for the price increases over the last eight years, which has allowed for “a reasonable profit.”

When asked why she did not see the backlash coming over the consistent price increases, Bresch said there has been a lot right and a lot wrong with EpiPens and that the company did not realize the impact patients would see or the impact of rising high-deductible health plans.

"There's a lack of understanding for how that price makes its way through the system. A lot of misinformation," she said. "The system needs to be reinvented.” 

Bresch also said the drug pricing system has not changed much in the last 25 years and has not kept up with the innovation, noting Mylan is continuing to invest in a robust biosimilars pipeline.

In late August, Mylan announced it would launch an identical generic two-pack of EpiPens, known as an authorized generic, which will have a list price of $300, which is half the list price of the brand product, but still significantly more than the price was prior to Mylan’s acquisition of the EpiPen in 2007.

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