Mylan CEO Heather Bresch has been in the hot seat over the price of the EpiPen.
The cost of the device, used in emergencies to treat severe allergic reactions, has increased more than 500% since Mylan acquired it in 2007.
Now, Bresch’s parents are being brought into the conversation.
And it’s no ordinary family — Bresch is the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Her mother, Gayle Manchin, USA Today reports, was president of the National Association of State Boards of Education, a national education organisation.
While in that position — and after Bresch became CEO at Mylan in 2012 — the organisation launched an “epinephrine policy initiative,” which was the first time the NASBE had addressed food allergies, USA Today reports.
Shortly after, Mylan launched its EpiPen4Schools program, which is now the subject of an antitrust investigation by the New York attorney general. And in 2013, President Barack Obama signed legislation that helped public schools build up emergency supplies of EpiPens.
“There is no truth to the suggestion that the company’s efforts were anything but straightforward or that we are aware of anyone advocating inappropriately for the right of schoolchildren to have access to potential life-saving medicine,” Mylan told USA Today in a statement.
“We make a point ever since I’ve been in this position, and when I was governor, we made a point, we just didn’t get involved. It’s so convoluted. I don’t understand,” Joe Manchin told Bloomberg on September 7. “To get into something you don’t understand and your daughter being in this type of industry, it was best I stayed away.”
In the past few weeks, Mylan has found itself facing accusations that it overcharged Medicaid and an investigation into whether it violated antitrust laws with its EpiPen4Schools program. Lawmakers have been asking for federal investigations and hearings to get more details on how Mylan set the price of the EpiPen.
To fend off public outrage over the EpiPen’s cost, Mylan recently raised its copay-coupon system to cover $300 of people’s out-of-pocket costs for those with commercial insurance (a two-pack of the EpiPen has a list price of about $600). The company has also said that it would make an “authorised generic” version of the EpiPen that would cost $300 for a two-pack, half the list price of the branded drug.
Bresch will appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday to discuss the drug’s price increases over the years.
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