In response to widespread criticism, pharmaceutical company Mylan NV announced Thursday that it will take several steps to make its popular EpiPen allergy treatment more affordable for some patients.
Mylan found itself in the crosshairs of many healthcare reform advocates this week, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who used the EpiPen as an example of the aggressive pricing strategies that have become commonplace in today’s pharmaceutical industry.
As Clinton pointed out in a tweet Wednesday, Mylan has increased the price of EpiPens more than 400% over the past several years. A standard two-pack of the allergy medication now costs nearly $600.
In a press release, the drugmaker said it will provide an instant savings card worth $300 to any patient that currently pays full price for the drug out of pocket. This would represent savings of about 50% for patients without insurance or for those with high deductible plans.
Mylan also announced that it is doubling the eligibility for patient assistance to 400% of the federal poverty level. This means that a family of four making up to $97,200 would be eligible to pay effectively nothing for an EpiPen.
“We responded this morning, first and foremost, ensuring that everybody that needs an EpiPen has an EpiPen,” Mylan CEO Heather Bresch told CNBC. “As a mother I can assure you that the last thing we could ever want is no one to have their EpiPen due to price.”
The company also announced that it will continue to offer its EpiPen4Schools program, which provides free epinephrine injectors to schools across the country, and it is opening a pathway for customers to purchase EpiPens directly from Mylan in the hopes of reducing costs.
The impact of today’s decision on Mylan’s earnings and revenue is still unknown, but the company definitely won an important public relations battle. As drug manufacturers continue to see increased scrutiny, patients could be the big winners if price cuts become a trend.
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