Mylan, the maker of anti-allergy drug EpiPen, will give as much as $300 in discounts to families who rely on the emergency anaphylactic shock treatment.
The move now aims to make EpiPen more accessible to patients just a day after the company faced backlash for hiking the price to $600 for a pack of two, marking a 500 percent increase in the past six years.
"This effectively reduces their out-of-pocket cost exposure by 50 percent," Mylan states.
A family of four with an annual income of $97,200 will also no longer need to pay out of pocket since they will be eligible for assistance.
No Price Rollback, Just Discounts For EpiPen
Mylan this week raised the price of the popular treatment just as back-to-school season is beginning, and parents and school administrators are starting to stock up on the auto-injector.
But Mylan's announcement is a mere discount — not an outright rollback of EpiPen's list price. With no branded drug to rival EpiPen and no generic equivalent, employers and insurers, which usually cover payments for prescription drugs, have been forced to pay 150 percent more since 2013.
The discount then serves as a quick PR fix in the eyes of the general public, while businesses and insurance companies are left to grapple with the same skyrocketing drug price.
"Mylan should not offer after-the-fact discounts only for a select few — it should reverse its massive price increases across the board immediately," says Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D).
Bresch: 'The System Is Broken'
With drug companies in the U.S. refusing to rein in prices, the higher costs will translate into higher insurance premiums. This means patients will still ultimately bear the brunt of higher drug costs.
To Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, however, structural reforms are needed across the U.S. healthcare industry since the changes brought in by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has prompted employers to opt for high-deductible plans — the very reason patients are paying larger sums out of pocket.
"There's no question: the system is broken," Bresch says. "There's no transparency, there's no clarity and no one knows what anything costs."
Hillary Clinton Calls On Mylan To Reduce Price Of EpiPen
On Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Mylan's price hike "outrageous" and urged the pharmaceuticals company to "immediately reduce" the cost of EpiPen.
"It's just the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers," says Clinton, who also slammed another drug company, Martin Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals, for increasing the price of the HIV treatment Daraprim by a staggering 5000 percent.
While Clinton has vowed to clamp down on drug price hikes if elected, Shkreli took to Twitter to weigh in on the EpiPen controversy and defend Mylan's move.
"With 8 percent margins, Mylan is close to breaking even. Do we want them to lose [money]?" Shkreli tweets. "The sole supplier of a life-saving drug should have a better margin."