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.