PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Mylan Labs is about to launch a new drug that could revolutionize the way cancer is treated, and it could make it cheaper.
“It’s an important milestone for patients and our health care system,” says Heather Bresch.
Bresch is the CEO of Mylan, the pharmaceutical company headquartered in Canonsburg, and she appeared Tuesday on CBS Morning News.
Bresch is talking about her company’s new drug called Fulphila, the first FDA-approved alternative to the drug Neulasta, which reduces the infection risk to patients undergoing chemotherapy.
It’s part of a new class of drugs called “bio-similars.”
These are biologic drugs, usually injectable or IV, created to be “similar” to already-approved biologic drugs versus generics, typically pills, that are the same as existing “chemical” drugs.
“Biologics have been around for a while,” said Bresch. “The FDA has continued to work with industry: how can we have the rigor around making sure we can bring affordable alternatives to biologics and those are biosimilars?”
What are the savings that can be achieved?
“Significant savings. Tens of thousands dollars,” says Bresch.
It was the skyrocketing cost of Mylan’s EpiPen allergy drug a few years ago that got the company into hot water with consumers and Congress.
Bresch says they learned from it.
“EpiPen was a window into a broken system and not working for patients today, and I think that conversation has evolved tremendously,” she says today.
“So what is it like to have the president put his finger on your industry?” CBS’ John Dickerson asked Bresch.
“I applaud the president,” says Bresch. “If there’s one thing you can say about this president is that he’s solution-oriented and not afraid to be disruptive. You can’t take a system that been built over 50 years and think that you can just superficially, or through a soundbite, change it.”