The maker of EpiPens offered patients more help to pay for its costly emergency allergy shots but didn’t budge Thursday on the $608 price.

The announcement from Mylan N.V. triggered a new round of condemnation from politicians and consumer groups, who accuse the company of price-gouging on a potentially life-saving treatment.

Critics stressed that insurers, employers and taxpayers will still foot most of the cost for EpiPens. Over time, that drives up insurance premiums and the country’s burgeoning health care tab.

“Everybody suffers, except the Mylan investors,” said Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute.

This week, Mylan joined other drugmakers such as Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and Turing Pharmaceuticals, who’ve been blasted for mammoth price increases.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch defended her company’s price hikes Thursday, telling CNBC that lowering the price was not an option. Bresch said the company only receives $274 of the $608 for a twin-package of EpiPens. She said insurers, pharmacies, prescription benefit managers and distributors divvy up the rest.

Instead of a price cut, Mylan said it was expanding programs that help people pay for EpiPens or give them out free. It doubled the limit for eligibility for its patient assistance program, so a family of four making up to $97,200 would pay nothing out of pocket. It also said it will offer $300 copay cards, up from the current $100 per-prescription savings. That would cut the bill in half for patients who have to pay full price.

People will eventually be able to order the injected medicine directly from the company to lower their cost.

“This step seems like a PR fix more than a real remedy, masking an exorbitant and callous price hike,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said in a statement.

EpiPens, which have little competition, are used in emergencies to treat severe allergies to insect bites and foods that can lead to anaphylactic shock. People usually keep a number of EpiPens handy. The syringes, prefilled with the hormone epinephrine, expire after a year.

How much an individual pays depends on insurance coverage. Private insurers often negotiate discounts off the list price, and patient out-of-pocket costs vary by plan. Customers of the nation’s largest prescription benefits manager pay $73.50. Mylan has said that many people get EpiPens with no out-of-pocket cost.

The list price for a pair of EpiPens has been raised repeatedly from $93.88 in 2007, when Mylan acquired the product.

Congressional members and other politicians this week have called for hearings on Mylan’s pricing, an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, and Food and Drug Administration action to increase competition.

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