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EpiPen company expands payment breaks, but stands firm on price

1 month 3 weeks 5 days ago August 25, 2016 Aug 25, 2016 Thursday, August 25 2016 August 25, 2016 2:22 PM in Health
Source: Associated Press
By: APNewsNow
Image: Forbes

NEW YORK - Even though the maker of the EpiPen is expanding programs that help patients pay for it, the company -- Mylan -- isn't budging on the price of the emergency allergy treatment.

The price of the two-dose package topped $600 earlier this year, up from about $94 just nine years ago according to a price-tracking database. And the increase has drawn anger from Congress and from families that have to pay for it.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch told CNBC today that lowering the price was not an option. She said, "Had we reduced the list price, I couldn't ensure that everyone who needs an EpiPen gets one."

Mylan did say, however, that it was doubling the eligibility for its patient assistance program to people with incomes four times higher than the federal poverty level.

One health researcher says insurers and employers will keep having to pay the higher price, and that it will be reflected in higher premiums. Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University says, "Everybody suffers, except the Mylan investors."

Hillary Clinton and members of Congress from both parties have quickly ramped up criticism of the company and its pricing.

EpiPens are used in emergencies to treat severe allergies that can lead to anaphylactic (an-uh-fih-LAK'-tik) shock. Roughly 40 million Americans have severe allergies to spider bites, bee stings and foods like nuts, eggs and shellfish.

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