Heather Bresch is chief executive officer of Mylan, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. She also serves on the company’s board of directors. As CEO, she is responsible for a workforce of more than 40,000, a powerful global research and development platform, a manufacturing footprint comprising more than 50 facilities, and a portfolio of more than 2,700 generic and branded pharmaceuticals sold in more than 165 countries and territories.
Career at Mylan
Throughout her 24-year career with Mylan, Bresch, who started with the company as a data-entry clerk, has held roles of increasing responsibility in more than 15 functional areas. Prior to becoming CEO, Bresch served as Mylan’s president, where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. Before that, she served as Mylan’s chief operating officer and chief integration officer, leading the successful integration of two international acquisitions – Matrix Laboratories and Merck KGaA’s generics business – which more than doubled the size of the company and transformed Mylan from a purely U.S. company to a global one.
Leading the Next Chapter of Mylan’s Growth and Performance
As CEO, Bresch is leading the next chapter of Mylan’s growth and performance, and further differentiating the company from its competitors by transforming it from a pharmaceutical company into a healthcare company. This strategy includes plans to double the size of Mylan’s product portfolio, manufacturing capacity and earnings between 2012 and 2018, enhance its technologies and capabilities, expand its reach across geographies and commercial channels, and develop new services that further enhance Mylan’s relationship with customers and patients.
In executing on this strategy and continuing to satisfy unmet needs, Mylan is developing and launching hundreds of new generic, specialty and over-the-counter products annually. Additionally, Mylan has continued to serve as a leading consolidator in the industry, with recent transactions including Abbott’s non-U.S. developed markets specialty and branded generics business and Meda, a leading international specialty pharmaceutical company that sells both prescription and over-the-counter products. Mylan also continues to focus on complex and difficult-to-manufacture products and is developing portfolios of complex biologic, insulin and respiratory products.
To achieve Mylan’s goals, Bresch emphasizes a collaborative company culture focused on leading, learning, teaching and performing to inspire innovation and help set new standards in healthcare.
Providing Passionate Global Leadership on Key Issues
Mylan’s mission is to provide the world’s 7 billion people access to high quality medicine and to “do good while doing well.” Over the course of her career at the company, Bresch has been a champion of initiatives and policy changes aimed at removing barriers that hinder access.
Among her policy priorities is ensuring that everyone living with HIV/AIDS has access to high quality, affordable drugs and advocating for treatment soon after diagnosis to produce better health outcomes, reduce HIV transmission and create long-term cost savings. Approximately 50% percent of patients being treated for HIV/AIDS in the developing world today rely on a Mylan product.
Bresch also has been a leading advocate for global competitiveness and global quality standards. For instance, driven by Mylan’s unmatched commitment to quality, Bresch was instrumental in the development of the Generic Drug User Fee Act (GDUFA) which aims to hold all drugs sold in the U.S. to one quality standard. In addition, she advocated for changes to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 to arm the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the resources and authority needed to regularly inspect U.S. and foreign plants at the same rate. Both of these provisions were included in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), landmark legislation that was signed into law in July 2012.
Moreover, Bresch is actively advocating for the implementation of a viable abbreviated approval pathway for safe and effective generic versions of biologic drugs, which will provide patients with access to lower-cost versions of these life-saving products. In addition, Bresch is passionate about increasing awareness of and preparedness for life-threatening allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis, and has advocated for measures that provide people immediate access to Epinephrine auto-injectors, as the drug is considered the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis.
Earlier in her career, Bresch played a vital role in the passage of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, a congressional revision to the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, which helped to ensure consumer access to affordable pharmaceuticals.
Bresch was elected to serve as chair of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association’s board of directors in 2016. Previously, she served two one-year terms as the chair of the association in 2004 and 2005 and two one-year terms as vice chair in 2003 and 2006. She is a frequent speaker on issues such as affordable healthcare and global competitiveness, and has testified before the U.S. Congress and FDA on issues related to access to medicine. Heather is the pharmaceutical industry’s first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and has been named by Fortune magazine as one of its “50 Most Powerful Women.”
Bresch earned her undergraduate degree from West Virginia University.