Mylan caves on price after Clinton call-out
- Mylan said Thursday morning that it would cover $300 of out-of-pocket costs for the EpiPen for uninsured and underinsured patients, bringing down the list price from $608 for a two-pack of the auto-injectors.
- The pricing concession came after further backlash sent the company's stock tumbling. The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging sent Mylan CEO Heather Bresch a letter requesting a briefing within the next two weeks on the price hikes for the product.
- Compounding the problem, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton weighed in on the EpiPen, calling for "Mylan to immediately reduce the price" and encouraging the production of alternative products.
This isn't the first time that comments from Clinton regarding drug pricing have sent stocks spiraling; the Presidential nominee kicked off a down biotech market last fall when she came out against price hikes for older drugs.
"That’s outrageous – and it’s just the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers. I believe that our pharmaceutical and biotech industries can be an incredible source of American innovation, giving us revolutionary treatments for debilitating diseases," said Clinton in her statement about the EpiPen increase. "But it’s wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them."
This time, Mylan tried to reverse the downward stock trend before it started, responding to her calls for price lowering with an increased savings card for patients. Bresch appeared on CNBC Thursday morning, trying to justify the pricing and blaming the industry. Mylan stock opened up slightly on August 25, after dropping immediately after Clinton's comments.
"Patients deserve increased price transparency and affordable care, particularly as the system shifts significant costs to them. However, price is only one part of the problem that we are addressing with today's actions. All involved must also take steps to help meaningfully address the U.S. healthcare crisis, and we are committed to do our part to drive change in collaboration with policymakers, payors, patients and healthcare professionals," said Bresch in a statement.
Mylan has developed a monopoly in the epinephrine space, representing about 85% of the market. EpiPen is an auto-injection device filled with the low-cost, decades-old drug that is used as a treatment for anaphylactic shock due to allergic reactions from foods and bug bites.
Due to lack of competition and market dynamics, Mylan had no obstacles to increasing the price of the life-saving device. Since the company acquired the product in 2007, the price has risen from $100 for a two-pack of the pens to a current price of $608.
Follow Lisa LaMotta on Twitter