By Ankur Banerjee
(Reuters) - Mylan NV (MYL.O) said on Thursday it would reduce the out-of-pocket cost of its severe allergy treatment EpiPen through a discount program, a day after Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joined lawmakers in criticizing the drug’s high price.
The company, which did not lower the drug’s list price, said it would reduce the patient cost of EpiPen through the use of a savings card, which will cover up to $300 of EpiPen 2-Pak.
Price of the product, acquired in 2007, has zoomed to $600 from $100 in 2008. For patients previously paying the full list price, the card effectively reduces their out-of-pocket cost exposure by 50 percent, Mylan said.
The company said it is also doubling the eligibility for its patient assistance program, which will eliminate out-of-pocket costs for uninsured and under-insured patients and families.
Clinton on Wednesday called on Mylan to voluntarily drop the price of EpiPen.
Clinton’s comments came after a bipartisan group of lawmakers called for investigations into the price increase of EpiPens, which are preloaded injections of epinephrine (adrenaline) that people use if they are having a dangerous allergic reaction that could result in death, if untreated.
On Wednesday, Republican Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill requested that Mylan provide a briefing to explain the price change.
A group of lawmakers said on Wednesday that they had written to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ask about its approval process for alternatives to the EpiPen.
The comments from Clinton and lawmakers sent biotech stocks spiraling down on Wednesday, similar to the slump last fall when Clinton had first criticized the high cost of drugs.
Clinton admonished Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.N) (VRX.TO), which raised the price of a heart drug. In March, she released a campaign ad vowing to target the company.
Clinton also criticized Turing Pharmaceuticals when public ire rose after it decided to raise the price of an antiviral medication commonly used by AIDS patients and pregnant women to $750 from $13.50 a tablet.
Turing was then led by Martin Shkreli, who became the poster child for the issue of soaring prices for prescription medications. He later stepped down as CEO of Turing.
Mylan’s stock, which had fallen more than 10 percent this week through Wednesday’s close, were up 3.6 percent at $44.67 in premarket trading.
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)