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W.Va. Sen. Manchin praises daughter Bresch as Mylan hikes drug prices | TribLIVE.com
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W.Va. Sen. Manchin praises daughter Bresch as Mylan hikes drug prices

Chris Fleisher And David Conti
| Wednesday, September 7, 2016 10:33 p.m
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REUTERS
EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia admits he’s a proud father, seeing his daughter run a drug company, but he says he didn’t know much about the business decisions Mylan NV made as it raised prices more than 400 percent on the EpiPen — and kept it that way on purpose.

Heather Bresch, Manchin’s daughter and Mylan’s chief executive officer, has come under fire from lawmakers, including many of his fellow Democrats, for her pricing decisions on the lifesaving anti-allergy drug.

“We make a point ever since I’ve been in this position, and when I was governor, we made a point, we just didn’t get involved. It’s so convoluted. I don’t understand,” he said. “To get into something you don’t understand, and your daughter being in this type of industry, it was best I stayed away.”

Bresch, 47, is facing demands from Manchin’s colleagues to appear before Congress and explain the price increases, which occurred as her pay rose substantially.

“My daughter is my daughter with unconditional love, and she’s the most amazing person that I know of as far as not only being accomplished, but just, she’s so compassionate and generous in how she’s always lived her life,” said Manchin, 69, a Democrat.

The EpiPen has become a national symbol for those who argue that drugmakers are gouging customers and saddling taxpayers with unsustainable cost increases.

“The only thing you can ask is that people be open-minded and fair,” he said. “… That’s all anybody can ask for, especially if it’s your child.”

He said his daughter would make sure people who needed EpiPens got them. “The only thing I know about from my daughter is if someone got ahold of the company and says we can’t afford ’em, we need one, she would give them one. That’s all. I know that. I know her well enough to know that would happen,” he said.

After facing strong criticism from lawmakers and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Mylan offered more discounts for certain customers and said it would introduce a generic version of the anti-allergy shot for half the price of the original EpiPen. The auto-injector cost $57 a shot when Mylan purchased the drug in 2007, but a series of price increases hiked the cost to more than $600 for a pair of EpiPens.

Mylan declined to comment.

Manchin said he is sure his daughter will answer all of the questions that have been asked of the company by his colleagues, but said he sees a larger issue.

“They are all too expensive,” he said. “So if there is a way to find out that we can deliver it at a better, more economical price, and still have the innovative and creative juices flowing, I guess that makes all these things happen. You’ve got to find the balance somewhere.

“Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. You’ve got to look for the silver lining all the time, don’t you?” Manchin said, referring to the renewed focus on the high cost of prescription drugs.

Categories: Wire stories
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