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Mylan pledges to make EpiPens more affordable - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Mylan pledges to make EpiPens more affordable

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DALLAS -

Joyce Brewer was shocked when she learned the cost of her son A.J.'s EpiPens had shot up more than $500.

"I started immediately thinking where am I going to come up with this extra money in our family budget that we didn't need last year?" she said.

The drugs give her peace of mind if her 6-year-old, who suffers from food allergies, has an allergic reaction.

"He has two EpiPens," Brewer said. "One stays at school; one stays at home."

The cost of the lifesaving auto-injectors has skyrocketed from about $100 for a two-pack in 2009 to more than $600 this year.

Thursday, Mylan, the maker of EpiPens, announced that while it will not lower the price of the drug, it will expand programs to help lower out-of-pocket costs for patients. Mylan is giving out a savings card that will cover up to $300 of an EpiPen two-pack. It's also doubling eligibility for the patient assistance program to help uninsured or underinsured patients. And consumers can now buy EpiPens directly from the company.

After families and members of Congress from both parties called on Mylan to roll back prices, company CEO Heather Bresch defended the rising cost on CNBC.

"There are four or five hands that the product touches and companies that it goes through before it ever gets to that patient at the counter," Bresch said.

Parents like Joyce Brewer welcome the new savings.

"It shouldn't take parents getting outraged about something to save their child's life for the company to change the price," Brewer said.

EpiPens accounted for 87 percent of all epinephrine prescriptions filled by pharmacies last year.

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