The drugmaker Mylan NV said Monday it would offer a generic version of the EpiPen, the company's second move in a week to contain public outrage over perceived price gouging.
A five-fold increase in the price of the life-saving epinephrine injectors over a decade drew stinging rebukes last week, with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and others demanding the company drop its prices.
Mylan, which holds a virtual monopoly on the devices that allergy sufferers use to treat potentially deadly anaphylactic shocks, said the generic version would have a list price of $300, a discount of more than half.
The company last week said it would expand patient assistance programs to reduce out-of-pocket costs to the consumer but high-profile critics in a politically charged election season said this was not enough.
In a statement, Mylan Chief Executive Heather Bresch said the generic injector version would offer ‘a long-term solution to further reduce costs and ease the burden and complexity of the process on the patient.’ Bresch is the daughter of Democrat US Senator Joe Manchin.
The decision to offer a generic is unusual as the device remains under patent protection.
On Thursday, the company said it would offer savings cards and double patient eligibility for assistance, such that a family of four with an annual income of nearly $100,000 would pay nothing out of pocket for an injector.
The uproar over EpiPen prices comes amid a tug-of-war between the Obama administration and private health insurers, who say they are losing money under a new health care law intended to provide access to the poor and uninsured.
Mylan has pointed the finger at insurers for passing an increasing share of drug costs to policy holders.
Shares in the Dutch-incorporated Mylan, which is headquartered in England, were flat at $43.03 in early trade Monday after losing 12 percent last week amid the controversy.
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