Mylan CEO Defends EpiPen Prices In Face Of Congressional Grilling

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — The head of pharmaceutical company Mylan is defending the cost for life-saving EpiPens, signaling the company has no plans to lower prices despite a public outcry and questions from skeptical lawmakers.

Lawmakers on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform grilled the Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan.

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, when asked, she essentially told them the company will not lower the price of EpiPens which currently cost more than $600.

When asked if $600 was too much, she called it a fair price and that the increase was being reversed by the introduction of the generic.

It was the question everyone was waiting to hear, but not necessarily the answer they were hoping for.

“Many people incorrectly assumed that we make $600 off each pen. It’s simply not true,” Bresch said.

Bresch answered questions about her company’s profits and her salary to often heated members of congress.

“After subtracting EpiPen related cost our profit is $100 or approximately $50 per pen,” she said.

Her salary is about $18-million.

She was also probed over production costs.

“Here you’ve got a drug that’s been on the market for a hundred years, costs roughly a dollar, the actual juice that’s in here, that you need, costs about a dollar,” committee chair Jason Chaffetz said.

“We pay $69 for the cost of goods for the EpiPen,” she replied.

The price of EpiPen autoinjectors has increased more than 500 percent — 7 years ago it was about $100. Now, it’s $608 for a two pack.

Last month, Mylan said it will make a generic version of EpiPen at 50 percent less, $300 for a two pack and increase the value of coupons for many customers.

“It will be the same product with ‘epinephrine auto injector’ on it,” she said.

When asked if the price of EpiPens would rise in 2017, Bresch said no.

Earlier in September, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his office was investigating the company.

Lawmakers also questioned a representative from the FDA about other options in development, but were told that the information could not be provided.

The hearing was still underway early Wednesday evening.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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