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.
Throughout her 23-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.
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 by 2018, enhance its technologies and capabilities, 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 and specialty products annually, including many that are complex and hard to develop or manufacture. Additionally, under Bresch’s leadership, Mylan has continued to expand its portfolio and geographic reach, acquiring Abbott’s non-U.S. developed markets specialty and branded generics business and Agila Specialties, a global leader in injectable products; partnering on portfolios of biologic and insulin products; entering new commercial markets such India and Brazil; and expanding its leadership in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
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 40% 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 served two consecutive terms as chairman of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and one term as its vice chairman. 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, and has been named by Fortune magazine as one of its “50 Most Powerful Women.”
Bresch earned her undergraduate degree from West Virginia University.