Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has finally addressed the controversy involving his daughter, who runs a pharmaceutical company that dramatically hiked the prices of lifesaving EpiPens.
Manchin’s daughter, Heather Bresch, is the CEO of Mylan, which manufactures EpiPens. The company is under fierce criticism for raising the prices on the emergency allergy drug by 500 percent while giving raises to its executives, including Bresch.
Some of Manchin’s colleagues, including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), have demanded Mylan explain the price hike. Klobuchar has also called on the Senate’s Judiciary Committee to investigate the issue, which could prove uncomfortable for Manchin should his daughter be called to testify on Capitol Hill.
After declining to comment on the controversy for several days, Manchin released a short statement addressing the price hike. The statement includes no mention of his daughter.
“I am aware of the questions my colleagues and many parents are asking and frankly I share their concerns about the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs,” Manchin said. “Today I heard Mylan’s initial response, and I am sure Mylan will have a more comprehensive and formal response to those questions. I look forward to reviewing their response in detail and working with my colleagues and all interested parties to lower the price of prescription drugs and to continue to improve our health care system.”
EpiPens allow people to easily inject themselves or others with a set amount of epinephrine if they are suffering from an allergic reaction. Since Mylan bought the rights to manufacture the drug in 2007, prices have soared from $100 for a pack of two devices to over $600.
Bresch has defended the price hike, pointing to factors like the U.S.’s complicated health care system as well as the costs associated with raising patient awareness and subsidizing the devices in schools and other parts of the world.
“No one’s more frustrated than me,” Bresch told CNBC.
While the company has not reduced the device’s list price, on Thursday, Mylan did say it would offer discounts to help patients cover the cost of EpiPens.