WASHINGTON (WJZ)– EpiPen manufacturer Mylan’s CEO was on the hot seat Wednesday in Capitol Hill due to nationwide outcry over skyrocketing EpiPen prices.
Congress laid into Heather Bresch for jacking up prices on a vital medication.
“You raised the price, what did you think was going to happen?” said Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Bresch tried to explain why EpiPen prices have climbed more than 500 percent in just the last 9 years as top execs got huge raises.
“You have five executives in five years that earned nearly $300 million in compensation,” said Chaffetz.
Every day, epinepherine auto-injectors save lives of adults and children with severe allergies. EpiPens earned Mylan $184 million in 2008. This year, the expected revenue is $1.1 billion.
“We’ve worked diligently and invested to enhance EpiPen and make it more available. In fact, we have invested more than $1 billion in the last few years, and have succeeded on many fronts,” said Bresch.
Mylan has said it will be producing a generic version of the EpiPen. It’s still not available to pharmacies, leaving patients with few options.
Pharmacist Dr. Morris Myer says a prescription could cost $600 and the actual drug inside EpiPens only costs one dollar.
It’s the injector families desperately need.
“It’s almost like, can I afford it? But then, is there a price on my child’s life because they need this medication in order to survive?” said Myer.
Questions Congress believes Mylan executives aren’t asking themselves.
“After mylan takes our punches, they’ll fly back to their mansions in their private jets and laugh all the way to the bank,” said Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.
Mylan expressed Wednesday no plans to lower the price of the brand name EpiPen.
CEO Heather Bresch said Wednesday that researchers have increased the EpiPen’s shelf life to 24 months. As of now, EpiPens expire after one year.