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Why a Democratic Senator Is Supporting Mylan’s CEO

President Obama Delivers State Of The Union AddressPresident Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address
Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin with Nancy Pelosi.Photograph by Rob Carr—via Getty Images

Mylan (MYL) CEO Heather Bresch isn’t the most popular among the public and lawmakers right now. But at least one elected official is singing her praises: her father, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Bresch and her pharma company have been staring down a deluge of criticism for hiking the price of the EpiPen, a device used to fight potentially lethal allergic reactions, by more than 400% over the last decade. Members of Congress have called for a formal investigation, while New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday that he’d launched an antitrust probe into Mylan for potentially putting anti-competitive language into its contracts with local school districts.

Manchin, however, defended his daughter in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday evening.

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“My daughter is my daughter with unconditional love and she’s the most amazing person that I know of as far as not only being accomplished, but just, she’s so compassionate and generous in how she’s always lived her life,” he said.

Manchin went on to say that his daughter would make sure anyone who informed Mylan they couldn’t afford an EpiPen would undoubtedly receive one. “[S]he would give them one,” he said. “That’s all. I know that. I know her well enough to know that would happen.”

Mylan has significantly boosted its coupons for patients since the firestorm over the EpiPen and plans to introduce a generic competitor to its own product at half the price.


Manchin acknowledge that he knew little about Mylan’s individual business practices and called drug pricing a “convoluted” issue. But he assured that his daughter would answer any of his colleagues’ questions about pricing and hoped that Bresch would receive a fair shake.

By shining light on high drug prices and price hikes, which are common throughout the biopharma industry, Manchin said all the attention the EpiPen’s tab could be a “blessing in disguise.”

“They are all too expensive,” he said. “So if there is a way to find out that we can deliver it at a better, more economical price, and still have the innovative and creative juices flowing I guess that makes all these things happen, you’ve got to find the balance somewhere.”