Mylan is taking another stab at trying to quell the outrage over its $600 price tag for the life-saving allergy treatment EpiPen.
The generic drug company said it will sell a cheaper version of the EpiPen that will cost $300 for a two-pack carton, a 50 percent discount. Mylan's price increase on EpiPen has sparked calls from Congress for hearings. Mylan said it will release the new product in the next few weeks.
Mylan tried to address the outrage last week when it offered a discount card that cut the price in half. It also expanded its patient assistance program.
But lawmakers were not convinced, and some critics said the price wasn't lowered that much. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the discount card was a "baby step" that "seems like a PR fix more than a real remedy."
The EpiPen is a generic product, which is essentially a cheaper copycat of a brand-name drug.
However, Mylan has little to no competition, so the company was able to systematically raise the price by more than 400 percent since it acquired the generic in 2007.
Mylan is keeping the EpiPen price the same, but is creating a new generic version that will be cheaper. The generic will be identical to the product Mylan already offers.
A consumer advocacy group is not buying this new move from Mylan.
"The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong," said Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen.
"Mylan knows its $600/set of EpiPens is unsustainable, but aims to continue ripping off some segment of the marketplace — both consumers who do not trust or know about the generic, and perhaps some insurers and payers constrained from buying a generic."
Price increases for generic drugs are not unusual and have gotten other companies in hot water with the public.
For instance, Valeant Pharmaceuticals last year raised the price of two older generic heart drugs by up to 500 percent in some cases. The drugs didn't have any competition, leaving Valeant open to raise the price.
Another major incident involved Turing Pharmaceuticals, which raised the price of the parasite treatment Daraprim by 5,000 percent.
Some lawmakers were wary of the news.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that the cheaper version sure "sounds like good news but the details are important to know. Consumers and Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies will want to know how widely available the generic product will be."