Is Mylan CEO Heather Bresch the next Martin Shkreli? Based on public reaction to the bloated costs of her company's EpiPen, the 671% pay raise she's reaped as those costs rose, and the recently publicized fact that her dad is a US Senator, the initial answer may seem to be "yes." But the woman the New York Times calls America's "new pharmaceutical villain" refutes comparisons to the roundly reviled Shkreli, noting to the paper that Mylan's price spikes aren't in the "same hemisphere" as that of Shkreli's Daraprim and freely admitting hers is a for-profit business. "I am not hiding from that," she says. And some note she has, to an extent, helped bring about positive change in the industry: The director of the Knowledge Ecology International NGO, for example, says Bresch helped his group fight TPP provisions that would have made it more difficult for people overseas to obtain certain drugs.
The admittedly brash Bresch says high EpiPen prices are necessary to pay back the company for the expensive investment it's made in the device. She adds that the health insurance industry is also to blame, calling its raising of fees that consumers have to foot "unconscionable." But the Times notes other questionable items swirling around Bresch—including her receiving a since-rescinded MBA from West Virginia University without earning it, as well as Mylan's 2014 tax-sheltering move to the Netherlands. And some are calling her hypocritical, considering she was recently elected to head the board of directors of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, whose mission is to help patients gain access to affordable, high-quality meds, per a release. "It's like talking out of both sides of your mouth," a generic drug advocate notes to the Times of the increasingly monopolistic practices of companies like Mylan. (We don't know how Sarah Jessica Parker feels about Bresch, but we know how she feels about Mylan.)