Just days after embattled drugmaker Mylan, which over the past two weeks has come under fire for pricing its EpiPen emergency allergy shots at $600, announced it would cut costs of its infamous anti-allergy treatment, when on Monday it announced it would launch the first generic to its allergy auto-injector EpiPen at a discount of more than 50% to the branded product’s list price.
The generic EpiPen will be identical to the branded product and cost $300 per two-pack carton, Mylan said in a statement on Monday. The company also plans to continue to sell the branded version.
Last week the company reduced the out-of-pocket costs of EpiPen for some patients last week amid a wave of criticism from lawmakers and the public over the rapid escalation in the product’s price in the past few years. However, as many politicians chimed in, it still wasn’t enough, demanding more concessions from the senator daughter CEO. As a result, Mylan said it expected to launch the generic product “in several weeks” at a list price of $300. The branded product costs about $600. EpiPen cost about $100 in 2008.
“Ensuring access to medicine is absolutely the core of Mylan’s mission,” Chief Executive Officer Heather Bresch said in the statement accompanying the announcement. “We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of EpiPen to the patient, and have always shared the public’s desire to ensure that this important product be accessible to anyone who needs it.”
The EpiPen price increases drew particular attention in Washington because Bresch had successfully pushed legislation to encourage use of the EpiPen in schools nationwide. Mylan spent about $4 million in 2012 and 2013 on lobbying for access to EpiPens generally and for legislation, including the 2013 School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Office of the Clerk for the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, as the Mylan scapegoating campaign continues, our rhetorical question to Congress remains: have you received millions in lobby dollars from the US pharmaceutical industry. Incidentally, the answer is yes: some $2.3 billion in the past decade. We would be delighted if Congress members were to disclose just which big pharma companies they received funds from, and what they used them for.