A controversy over the pricing of EpiPens extended into a second week after Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the life-saving medical product used to treat allergic reactions, announced that it would release a generic version of it at about half the price of the original. The company had been heavily criticized after the list price for a two-pack of EpiPens surged to more than $600, over 400 percent higher than what it cost just years ago. “Our decision to launch a generic alternative to EpiPen is an extraordinary commercial response,” said Mylan CEO Heather Bresch in a statement on Monday.
The rollout of a generic, which will take several weeks, is the latest maneuver in an ongoing public-relations episode that has included a controversial issuing of coupons for certain patients and a discursive set of explanations and apologies. Even as a generic would relieve the financial burden on insurers and taxpayers, its price is still $200 more than the list price for the EpiPen was in 2008. Mylan maintains that the price increases were due in part to product improvements and efforts to make EpiPens more widely available; however, critics—who would have rather seen Mylan simply reduce the cost of EpiPens—have noted that annual compensation for Bresch also rocketed in the past eight years from $2.5 million to nearly $19 million in 2015.