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Mylan CEO set to defend EpiPen prices amid public outcry

Mylan CEO set to defend EpiPen prices amid public outcry

He accused Mylan of taking advantage of the country's health care system.

That reason, "I believe, was to get filthy rich at the expense of our constituents", he said. This is a bogus defense, considering drug price hikes like the ones she has presided over are very much part of the equation that raises the costs in the entire health sector for consumers. Several members of Congress expressed dismay at Bresch's salary, which increased 67 percent to $18.9 million in 2015. When asked what the impact of the EpiPen has been, Bresch cited $180 billion as the amount of money the EpiPen has saved the USA healthcare system. Her response generated more outrage from lawmakers. "Nobody can really earn or deserve" that much money, he said. Rosen said the company may have changed its manufacturing process or it may be using some kind of chemical stabilizer in its epinephrine solution to prevent oxidation and lower its sensitivity to heat. "Maybe that's what we should do with Medicare and Medicaid and everyone else; let them negotiate their own prices with pharmaceutical companies", he said. "They did not do that", TheStreet's Jim Cramer said of Mylan on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" this morning.

"Looking back, I wish we had better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration of the rising financial issues for a growing minority of patients who may have ended up paying [full price]", said Bresch. But, despite the extraordinary price hike, Bresch isn't apologizing or lowering the EpiPen's price. EpiPen has gone from $100 for a two-pack in 2009 to $608 today.

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), a pharmacist, also took Bresch to task for insisting that Mylan's new generic would solve the problem.

The pharmaceutical company has come under fire for rapidly increasing the price of its EpiPen.

But she says the company has made strides to more widely distribute the drug to schools and others. "We never intended this", she said. "If you thought it was fair leave it where it's at".

At the hearing, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Republican of SC, who called himself "a free-market Republican", told Bresch that "you asked for it". "She's on the clock".

Mylan now offers coupons to more families to cover out-of-pocket costs and said it would soon release a half-price EpiPen.

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One geriatrician said he has patients who are on it with prescriptions from their allergists, who weigh the pros and cons of having the drug.

The company, which is run from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, but is officially registered in the Netherlands after a so-called tax inversion, is facing multiple inquiries from lawmakers and law enforcement.

The committee called Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director for regulatory programs with the Food and Drug Administration, to testify about the prospects for rival epinephrine devices in the near future.

"EpiPens save lives every day, but only for those who can afford them", he said in his blogpost. "The pricing of a pharmaceutical product is opaque and frustrating, especially for patients".

Mylan MYL, +2.29% has consistently pointed to these plans as a factor in the EpiPen backlash.

"That's what Martin Shkreli did, that is what Valeant did, and that is what Mylan is doing", he said at the hearing.

Cummings is pressing the CEO on how many units Mylan sold past year.

And Bresch, once again, seemed a bit flummoxed by the optics: She was visibly frustrated that Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings were not appeased by Mylan's patient-assistance improvements and newly planned generic product. The importance of the EpiPen is well-documented: Many adults and children rely on the product to manage life-threatening allergic reactions, and demand is magnified by the short shelf-life of the product.

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