Congress Grills Bresch about EpiPen ; Mylan CEO Takes Bipartisan Criticism from House Panel over Price Hikes for Drug

By Brown, Andrew | Charleston Gazette Mail, September 22, 2016 | Go to article overview

Congress Grills Bresch about EpiPen ; Mylan CEO Takes Bipartisan Criticism from House Panel over Price Hikes for Drug


Brown, Andrew, Charleston Gazette Mail


Members of Congress took turns Wednesday questioning and criticizing Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, for the inflated cost of EpiPens, her increased executive compensation and the company's failure to provide financial information to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The bipartisan group of lawmakers rebuked Bresch, who is the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for her company increasing the price of the life- saving drug by hundreds of dollars since 2007.

The hearing came after more than a month in which Mylan and Bresch have come under fire for the price hike. As a result, U.S. senators have called for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, and the attorney general of New York opened an investigation into the company.

At times, the highly anticipated hearing on Wednesday became heated as members of the committee cut off Bresch and reprimanded her for not directly answering their questions.

"Looking back, I wish we had better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration of the rising financial issues for a growing minority of patients, Bresch said as part of her prepared statements.

"You never anticipated this? Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the committee said. "You raised the price. What did you think was going to happen?

Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., called the price increases for EpiPens "astounding, sickening and disgusting. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D- D.C., questioned what Bresch could have done to deserve a 671 percent pay increase since 2007.

As CEO, Bresch made $18.9 million last year.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democratic member of the House committee, compared Bresch to Martin Shkreli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which was criticized by the same committee earlier this year for buying a 62-year-old drug that treated parasitic infections and increasing the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

"I'm concerned this is a rope-a-dope strategy, Cummings said. "Today, we will hold yet another hearing where the industry will take their punches, but then they go right ahead and keep raising their prices.

"After Mylan takes our punches, Cummings said, "they will fly back to their mansions in their private jets and laugh all the way to the bank.

Cummings later questioned Bresch on why Mylan had not provided Congress with a year-by-year breakdown of the profits that the company made from EpiPen, as the committee had requested

Bresch did not have a direct answer. …

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