Embattled Mylan Boosts EpiPen Patient Programs, Doesn't Budge on Price | NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Embattled Mylan Boosts EpiPen Patient Programs, Doesn't Budge on Price

Mylan has hiked prices for EpiPen as frequently as three times a year over the past nine years

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    You’ve probably heard about the cost of the life-saving Epipen skyrocketing. Now the drug maker is promising discounts, but they’re not the only manufacturer in town. There’s also a cheaper alternative. Roseanne Colletti reports. (Published Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016)

    Mylan is bulking up programs that help patients pay for its EpiPen emergency allergy treatment after weathering heated criticism about an average cost that has soared over the past decade. 

    But the drugmaker didn't budge on its price hikes Thursday, which have drawn ire both in Congress and from families that have had to shell out increasingly large sums for the potentially life-saving treatment. 

    Lawmakers 'Tricked' Into Honoring Ku Klux Klansman

    [NATL] Tennessee Lawmakers 'Tricked' Into Honoring Ku Klux Klansman

    Lawmakers in Tennessee are crying foul after Republican Rep. Mike Sparks sneaked in a resolution to honor former Ku Klux Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest with a bust under a different name. The resolution passed unanimously, 94-0, and the bust was installed at the state Capitol before lawmakers realized the mistake. 

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    That means the insurers and employers that pay the bulk of the EpiPen cost for many patients will continue to do so, contributing to higher health insurance costs. 

    "That's just going to come out in the premiums," said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. "Everybody suffers, except the Mylan investors." 

    Mylan joins a growing list of drugmakers, Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. among them, that have been called out after mammoth price hikes for the drugs they sell, with little or no innovation. 

    Turing's former CEO Martin Shkreli became the poster child of pharmaceutical-industry greed last fall for hiking the price of a life-saving drug, Daraprim, by more than 5,000 percent. 

    UC Davis Now Sells Plan B and Condoms From a Vending Machine

    [NATL] UC Davis Now Sells Plan B, Pregnancy Tests and Condoms From a Vending Machine

    Students at the University of California, Davis, can now purchase $30 Plan B emergency contraceptives, pregnancy tests, condoms and other personal care products from a vending machine. The idea came from UC Davis senior Parteek Singh, after a friend was unable to buy emergency contraceptives in time. 

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    He has applauded Mylan's actions. 

    The average price of a two-dose EpiPen package climbed to about $608 earlier this year, up more than 500 percent from around $94 nine years ago, according to the Elsevier Clinical Solutions' Gold Standard Drug Database. 

    Mylan CEO Heather Bresch told CNBC Thursday that lowering the price was not an option. 

    "Had we reduced the list price, I couldn't ensure that everyone who needs an EpiPen gets one," she said. 

    Millennials Found Most Susceptible to Robocalls and Scams

    [NATL] Millennials Found Most Susceptible to Robocalls and Scams

    A new study finds that it is not the elderly who are most susceptible to scam phone calls, but millennials, who are six times more likely to give away credit card information than any other age group. 

    (Published Saturday, April 29, 2017)

    EpiPens are used in emergencies to treat severe allergies that can lead to anaphylactic shock. Roughly 40 million Americans have severe allergies to spider bites, bee stings and foods like nuts, eggs and shellfish. 

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and members of Congress from both parties have quickly ramped up criticism of the price Mylan charges for the medicine. 

    Clinton said Wednesday that pharmaceutical and biotech industries can fuel American innovation, and combat debilitating diseases. But she added that "it's wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them." 

    Bresch said Thursday that Mylan gets $274 for a two-dose EpiPen package. The rest of the $608 price goes to entities that stand between the drugmaker and the patient, like insurers, pharmacy benefits managers, wholesalers and drugstores. 

    Girl Scalped on Carnival Ride Talks Recovery One Year Later

    [NATL] Girl Scalped on Carnival Ride Talks Recovery One Year Later

    Elizabeth "Lulu" Gilreath talks about her recovery from a carnival ride gone very wrong. Gilreath was scalped when her hair was caught on the King's Crown ride in Omaha, Nebraska, but she does not dwell on the incident, saying "My scars don't define me."

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    "This isn't an EpiPen issue," she said. "This isn't a Mylan issue. This is a health care issue." 

    However, it is Mylan that is increasing the price of the drug and the company stuck by those price hikes Thursday. 

    That stance brought a wave of new money from investors who drove Mylan's shares up more than 2 percent in morning trading, while major U.S. indexes slipped. 

    Last year, more than 3.6 million U.S. prescriptions for two-packs of EpiPens were filled, according to data firm IMS Health. That brought in sales of nearly $1.7 billion for Mylan. 

    Man Sees Vera Wang Diamond Ring on Sidewalk, Finds Its Owner

    [NATL] Man Finds Vera Wang Diamond Engagement Ring on Sidewalk, Tracks Down Its Owner

    Imagine looking down and finding a pristine diamond ring lying on the sidewalk. That was how Glenn Weddell found a Vera Wang diamond ring one afternoon in Sacramento, California. But instead of keeping it, Weddell hunted down the distraught owner to return the ring in a happy reunion. His method involved posting a sign to a tree downtown and hoping for the best. 

    (Published Thursday, April 27, 2017)

    Mylan said Thursday that it was doubling the eligibility for its patient assistance program to people with incomes four times higher than the federal poverty level. It said that means a family of four making up to $97,200 would pay nothing out of pocket for the treatment. It also noted that its $300 savings card would cut the bill in half for patients who would otherwise have to pay full price for the EpiPen. 

    Patients also will be able to order the injected medicine directly from the company, to help lower costs. 

    These measures could provide significant help for people with no coverage facing the full bill. But they might have more limited value to a patient whose insurer will cover most of the bill anyway and whose future premium could be affected by the drug's price. 

    Customers of Express Scripts Holding Co., the nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager, pay about $73.50 out of pocket for an EpiPen prescription, spokesman Brian Henry said. He noted that price has stayed relatively stable the past couple years. 

    Inmate Convulses During Execution With Controversial Drug

    [NATL] Fourth Arkansas Inmate Convulses During Execution With Controversial Drug

    The controversy over midazolam, a drug used during state executions of convicted inmates, rises following the execution of a fourth Arkansas inmate in eight days. Witnesses say Kenneth Williams, put on death row for the 1999 murder of two people, moved and shook during his execution Thursday night.

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, dismissed the actions Mylan detailed Thursday as a baby step. 

    "This step seems like a PR fix more than a real remedy, masking an exorbitant and callous price hike," the senator said in a statement.