Outraged Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday grilled the head of pharmaceutical company Mylan about the significant cost increase of its life-saving EpiPens and the profits for a company with sales in excess of $11 billion, the AP reports. Mylan CEO Heather Bresch held up an EpiPen as she told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that she wishes the company had "better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration" of the rising prices for some families. "We never intended this," she said, but maintained that her company doesn't make much profit from each emergency allergy shot. The list price of EpiPens has grown to $608 for a two-pack, an increase of more than 500% since 2007. Republicans and Democrats have said families struggling to pay for the shots have every right to be angry at Mylan.
Opening the hearing, House Oversight Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said high executive pay at Mylan "doesn't add up for a lot of people" as the EpiPen price has increased. Chaffetz said executives for the company made $300 million over five years while the list price for a pair of the emergency allergy shots rose. "Parents don't have a choice," Chaffetz said. "If your loved one needs this, it better darn well be in your backpack." Bresch said the company makes only $50 in profit on each EpiPen. But Chaffetz said he finds that "a little hard to believe." Mylan says it has made strides to more widely distribute EpiPens to schools and others and raised awareness of deadly allergies. That requires investment, Bresch said. She noted that Mylan has said it will begin selling its generic version for $300 for a pair. (Read more Mylan stories.)