Heather Bresch - CEO of Mylan

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is a leading voice in healthcare and the pharmaceutical industries. Read her thoughts on the sectors, Mylan’s unique corporate culture and how the company’s workforce is creating better health for a better world.

Heather Bresch is CEO of Mylan and an accomplished pharmaceutical executive who also serves on the company’s board of directors. Her extensive experience in the industry has helped position Mylan as a global pharmaceutical leader. During her more than 25 years at the company, Bresch has become an influential voice in the healthcare industry on issues including access to generic medicines, global quality standards for pharmaceuticals, affordable drugs, treatment soon after diagnosis for those living with HIV/AIDS, and increased awareness of and preparedness for life-threatening allergic reactions.

Bresch joined Mylan in 1992 as a data-entry clerk, working over the next 20 years in various roles of increasing responsibility in 15 functional areas, including as Mylan’s president. In 2012, she became the pharmaceutical industry’s first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Bresch led the successful integration of two international acquisitions - Matrix Laboratories and Merck KGaA’s generics business. These acquisitions more than doubled the size of the company and transformed Mylan from a U.S. company to a global one.

As CEO, she is responsible for a workforce of approximately 35,000, a powerful global R&D platform, a manufacturing footprint comprising 47 facilities, and a global portfolio of more than 7,500 generic and branded pharmaceuticals sold in more than 165 countries and territories.

Bresch continued to lead Mylan’s growth and transformation to a global healthcare company with several other important acquisitions, 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 products including biosimilars, insulin analog and respiratory products.

Throughout her career, Bresch has provided passionate global leadership on key healthcare and pharmaceutical issues, and in 2018 was named one of PharmaVOICE magazine’s 100 Most Inspiring People for challenging the healthcare status quo. 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. 

Bresch also has been a leading advocate for global competitiveness and global quality standards and 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. She actively advocates 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 as chair of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association’s* board of directors in 2016, 2005, and 2004, and as vice chair in 2003 and 2006. She is a frequent speaker on issues such as affordable healthcare, global competitiveness and access to healthcare. 

In July 2019, Mylan announced a definitive agreement to combine with Upjohn, a division of Pfizer, creating a new champion for global health. Bresch also announced her retirement as CEO and board member upon closing, which is anticipated for mid-2020. The transaction represents the culmination of Bresch’s goals to set new standards in healthcare. As Mylan sets out on a new journey, Bresch, too, will begin a new chapter that will continue to be focused on serving people, patients and public health.

*The Generic Pharmaceutical Association was renamed Association for Accessible Medicines in February 2017.

Heather Bresch Career Timeline

  1. 1992

    Bresch Joins Mylan

    Bresch joins Mylan as a data entry clerk. At the time, Mylan has about 700 employees and its annual revenue exceeds $100 million for the first time.
  2. 0

    Growing With Mylan

    In 1994, Bresch is named Associate Manager of Business Development. Throughout her career at Mylan, she would hold roles of increasing responsibility in more than 15 functional areas. The roles included becoming Manager of Special Projects in the Office of the President in 1996, Assistant to the Chairman in 2000, Director of Business Development in 2001, and Director of Government Relations in 2002. Bresch served as Vice President of Government and Public Relations in 2004, and Vice President of Strategic Corporate Development in 2005.
  3. 2003

    Taking on Leadership Roles

    Bresch is elected as vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, later renamed the Association for Accessible Medicines. She would go on to serve another term as vice chair in 2006, as well as three one year terms as chair of the association in 2004, 2005 and 2016. Bresch also 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.
  4. 2006

    Being a Voice for Change

    Bresch, then Mylan’s senior vice president of Strategic Corporate Development, testifies before the U.S. Senate’s Special committee on Aging concerning potential solutions to issues that put billions of dollars of consumer health care savings at risk.
  5. 2007

    Transforming Mylan

    Bresch serves as Head of North America Operations before being named Mylan’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Integration Officer. In her new role, she leads the successful integration of two international acquisitions – Matrix Laboratories and Merck KGaA’s generics business. The deals transform Mylan into a global company.
  6. 2009

    Improving Access Globally

    Bresch testifies before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee concerning patent litigation settlements between branded pharmaceutical and generic pharmaceutical companies. Bresch, then Mylan’s president, also travels to Africa to see firsthand the challenges associated with treating patients with HIV/AIDS.
  7. 2010

    Making Quality a Priority

    In response to ongoing globalization of the drug supply, Bresch launches an effort during the fall of 2010 to help ensure that all prescription pharmaceuticals sold in the U.S. are safe and effective, regardless of where they are produced.
  8. 2012

    Assuming the Helm

    Bresch is named Mylan’s CEO, succeeding Robert Coury. Under her leadership, Mylan champions the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), which holds both foreign and domestic manufacturers to one global quality standard. The Act includes the Generic Drug User Fee Act (GDUFA). Together, FDASIA and GDUFA aim to speed up access to safe and effective generic medicines while providing more visibility into how medicines and their ingredients are manufactured and shipped around the world.
  9. 2014

    Setting New Standards

    Two years after starting a program to ensure schools are stocked with epinephrine auto-injectors, Bresch continues to be a prominent advocate for increasing awareness of and preparedness for life-threatening allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis.
  10. 2015

    Overseeing Mylan’s Continued Growth

    Bresch’s leadership of the next chapter of Mylan’s growth and performance continues with the acquisition of Abbott’s non-U.S. developed markets specialty and branded generics business.
  11. 2016

    Breaking Barriers

    Bresch becomes the first-ever CEO to participate in the Pittsburgh Pride Equality March, saying that Mylan has always believed that every person in this world matters and access to better health is a right, not a privilege. Also that year, Bresch attends the groundbreaking for Hope Village, a community of homes to be built in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, after floods devastated the area. Mylan donated $1 million toward the rebuilding effort.
  12. 0

    Making a Difference

    Bresch receives the 2017 Hugh O’Brian Youth’s Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award, which is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves through their service to mankind and have contributed significantly through their leadership to the education and motivation of youth.