Democrat defends daughter after tough EpiPen grilling

Greg Nash

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) delivered a robust defense of his daughter, Mylan Pharmaceuticals CEO Heather Bresch, one day after House lawmakers rebuked her for the recent price increases of her company’s EpiPen allergy medication.

“We can criticize and beat the living crap out of anyone we want to, and that was proven yesterday. But does that solve the problem? Do they really want to solve the problem?” Manchin told CNN in his first public remarks about the EpiPen controversy, which has involved both his wife and daughter.

Bresch sat through about five hours of combative questioning by House members from both parties on Wednesday about her company’s decision to raise the price of its EpiPens, as well as her $19 million salary.

Manchin has so far stayed quiet about the issue that’s gripping Capitol Hill. But he weighed in Thursday to say the House panel could have been “more constructive” and said his colleagues weren’t trying hard enough to address the larger problem of rising medical costs.

On his daughter’s salary, Manchin said the focus was “pretty sensational.”

Manchin said he offered no prep to his daughter before she took the hot seat at the House Oversight Committee, except to “just be you.”

“We try to keep a separation between what I do and what she does,” he said. 

The pharmaceutical executive was also grilled about a report by USA Today this week that said her mother had misused her role as a school board leader to help boost the sales of EpiPens.

As one Democrat held up a copy of the newspaper at the hearing, Bresch called the report “completely inaccurate” and called it a “cheap shot.”

In his interview with CNN, Manchin also said it was a “cheap shot” and dismissed it as “tabloid” journalism.

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