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Mylan expands EpiPen cost-cutting programs after charges of price gouging

FILE - This Oct. 10, 2013, file photo, shows an EpiPen epinephrine auto-injector, a Mylan product, in Hendersonville, Texas.  Shares of over-the-counter drugmaker Perrigo sank early Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, on a report that its stock owners will...
FILE - This Oct. 10, 2013, file photo, shows an EpiPen epinephrine auto-injector, a Mylan product, in Hendersonville, Texas. Shares of over-the-counter drugmaker Perrigo sank early Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, on a report that its stock owners will... (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

CNBC.com Staff – (CNBC) - Mylan on Thursday announced plans to boost access to its EpiPen Auto-Injector by expanding already existing programs for patients who are facing higher out-of-pocket costs.

The price of the EpiPen, a life-saving medication and delivery system for people with severe allergies, has increased more than 400 percent in the past decade.

Shares of Mylan rose more than 3 percent in premarket trading Thursday following the announcement. (Get the latest quote here.)With the company under pressure from members of Congress andDemocratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, the stock lost 5.4 percent of its value on Wednesday.

The company is reducing the cost of EpiPens through the use of a savings card that will cover up to $300 for the EpiPen 2-Pak.

Patients who were previously paying the full price for the EpiPen will have their out-of-pocket cost cut by 50 percent. Mylan also is doubling the eligibility for its patient assistance program, which will eliminate out-of-pocket costs for uninsured and under-insured patients and families, as well.

"We recognize the significant burden on patients from continued, rising insurance premiums and being forced increasingly to pay the full list price for medicines at the pharmacy counter," Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said in a statement. "Patients deserve increased price transparency and affordable care, particularly as the system shifts significant costs to them."

Bresch said, however, that price is only one part of the problem that Mylan is addressing. "All involved must also take steps to help meaningfully address the U.S. health care crisis," she said, "and we are committed to do our part to drive change in collaboration with policymakers, payors, patients and health care professionals."

In addition to expanding cost-cutting programs, Mylan is taking the following actions:

  • doubling eligibility for its patient assistance program to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. This means a family of four making up to $97,200 would pay nothing out of pocket for their EpiPen Auto-Injector.
  • continue to offer the EpiPen4Schools program. The program, launched in August 2012, has provided more than 700,000 free epinephrine auto-injectors and educational resources to more than 65,000 schools nationwide to help them be prepared for anaphylaxis events among students.
  • opening a pathway so that patients can order EpiPen Auto-Injector directly from the company, thereby reducing the cost.