Mylan to provide EpiPen cost assistance as CEO is asked to testify on price hike

The company will issue savings cards to cover up to $300 of $600 two-pack while CEO Heather Bresch must explain to Congress the 461% cost increase since 2007

Mylan, the company that produces the EpiPen, will reduce the cost of its product for some patients through increased financial assistance, the company announced on Thursday.

However, the company did not promise to reduce its prices nor did it address the price hikes on its other products, which have seen increases ranging from 20% to 542%.

The announcement comes day after a number of lawmakers, including Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, called on Mylan to reduce its prices.

EpiPens are used to administer medication in to someone experiencing a life-threatening allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis.

To reduce the cost of its EpiPen auto-injector, Mylan will issue savings cards that will cover up to $300 of the cost. EpiPens are typically sold as a pair at a cost of $600.

Mylan is taking immediate action to ensure that those who need the EpiPen can get one, said Heather Bresch, Mylans chief executive officer. But the company did not say that it would reduce the price of its main product nor will it roll back any of the price increases implemented in the past nine years. In the last 12 months alone, Mylan increased EpiPens price twice each time by 15%. Instead, the company offered to increase financial assistance to those most in need.

In her statement, Bresch blamed insurance companies for shifting costs on patients and called on all involved to help address the US healthcare crisis.

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, she said.

In addition to issuing $300-savings cards, Mylan changed the policy on who will now be eligible for free EpiPens. Previously, families of four earning below $48,600 qualified for free EpiPens. That threshold will now be $97,200.Consumers will also soon be able to order their EpiPens directly from Mylan, which the company says will help reduce their costs. Mylan will continue to offer free EpiPens to schools.

The news comes just a day after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton issued a statement calling on Mylan to reduce the price of the EpiPen, saying: Its wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients.

Even as Mylan takes steps to make its EpiPen more affordable, lawmakers have called on Bersch to appear before US Congress and explain why the price of EpiPen went up by 461% since Mylan acquired it in 2007.

We are concerned that these drastic price increases could have a serious effect on the health and well-being of every day Americans, senators Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill told Bresch in a letter. As leaders of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, we are particularly concerned that seniors have access to EpiPen because, according to Mylans 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.

They requested that Bresch testify within the next two weeks.

Even as Mylan was announcing the steps that it is taking to make its EpiPen more affordable, Sarah Jessica Parker issued a statement announcing that she had terminated her relationship with the company. Earlier this year, the Sex and the City actress served as a spokesperson for Mylan, helping raise awareness about anaphylaxis and life-threatening allergies.

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On Thursday, Sarah Jessica Parker ended her relationship with Mylan. Photograph: Bebert Bruno/SIPA/REX

I was recently involved in an initiative to raise awareness for anaphylaxis. Its a cause deeply important to my because of my sons life-threatening peanut allergy. The epinephrine auto-injector is a vital part of our healthcare, as it is for the many who are at risk. I recently learned that the price of the EpiPen has been systematically raised by Mylan to a point that renders the medication cost-prohibitive for countless people, Parker said in a statement, which she posted on Instagram on Thursday morning.

Im left disappointed, saddened and deeply concerned by Mylans actions. I do not condone this decision and I have ended my relationship with Mylan as a direct result of it. I hope they will seriously consider the outpouring of voices of those millions of people who are dependent on the device, and take swift action to lower the cost to be more affordable for whom it is a life-saving necessity.

Read more: www.theguardian.com