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Mylan CEO takes the stand against House Oversight Committee critics

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How Mylan Soaked Medicare and Taxpayers for Epi Pen Profits                 

     

     JIM BOURG

Bresch said she started at Mylan in 1992 as an entry-level clerk "performing basic administrative tasks in the basement of the company's manufacturing facility".

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's hearing featured a string of critics who rebuked Bresch for raising the price of a product with life-or-death implications, especially one that needs to be replaced nearly every year and in a therapeutic space where Mylan has more than 90% market share.

Members of a congressional oversight committee took turns Wednesday grilling the leader of the drug company responsible for the skyrocketing price of lifesaving EpiPens.

FILE - In this July 8, 2016, file photo, a pharmacist holds a package of EpiPens epinephrine auto-injector, a Mylan product, in Sacramento, Calif. Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is defending the cost for life-saving EpiPens and is offering no suggestion that there are plans to lower prices.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is questioning Bresch about the pricing.

The list price of EpiPens has grown to $608 for a two-pack, an increase of more than 500% since 2007.

"The market forces aren't at work", said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the committee's chairman.

Before she testified, a stone-faced Bresch was lambasted by the ranking minority member of the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who told her he wasn't "impressed" by her prepared remarks.

Members of Congress grilled the head of the company that sells EpiPens Wednesday over recent price hikes.

Lawmakers in turn described the actions as "sickening", "disgusting" and showing "blatant disrespect" for American families who can no longer afford the life-saving device for children susceptible to severe allergic reactions. Cummings said that documents Mylan handed over to the committee show the drugmaker spent $100 million on advertising and marketing previous year. The product "generates 10% of their revenue", noted committee chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz, and Mylan had "five executives in five years who earned almost $300 million in compensation".

Medicare
Mylan CEO takes the stand against House Oversight Committee critics

The EpiPen price increases ignited a national controversy in August following complaints by families.

"This is why we don't believe you", Chaffetz said. "You need one in the vehicle and another in the backpack or whatever", he said.

"I truly believe the story got ahead of the facts because of the complexity of the pharmaceutical industry", Bresch said during the hearing. The syringes, prefilled with the hormone epinephrine, expire after a year.

Mylan then launched a program that gave away 700,000 free EpiPens to over 66,000 schools "with no strings attached", she said. "We listened and focused on this issue, and we came up with an immediate solution", Bresch said.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers rebuked Bresch, who is the daughter of Sen. Her father is U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.

"Suddenly, feeling the heat, Mylan has offered a generic version and cut the price in half, so that does beg the question what was happening with that other $300?"

The Medicaid program spent $42.7 billion in brand and generic drugs and received $19.9 million in manufacturer rebates in fiscal year 2014.[1] Manufacturer rebates play an important role in helping to offset the ever-increasing costs of prescription drug to the Medicaid program. Explain to me. When you buy the generic version? We need to get other drugs approved. The pricing furor has hurt company shares, bringing them to a historically low valuation.

Last year, more than 3.6 million US prescriptions for two-packs of EpiPens were filled, according to data firm IMS Health.

She says the company makes about $50 per pen after rebates, fees, materials and other costs are subtracted. As a result, USA senators have called for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, and the attorney general of NY opened an investigation into the company. The Senate Aging Committee requested briefings on the issue, and Iowa Sen.

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