Tom Murphy

Mylan will start selling a cheaper version of its EpiPen after absorbing waves of criticism over a list price for the emergency allergy treatment that has grown to $608 for a two-pack, making it unaffordable for many patients.

The drugmaker says it will launch in several weeks a generic EpiPen version that is identical to the branded option but will have a list price of $300 for a two-pack.

It will be available in both 0.15-milligram and 0.30-milligram strengths, like the current version on the market.

EpiPens are used in emergencies to treat severe allergies to insect bites and foods like nuts and eggs that can lead to anaphylactic shock. People usually keep a number of EpiPens handy at home, school or work. The syringes, prefilled with the hormone epinephrine, expire after a year.

Consumers and politicians have accused the company of price gouging, since the list price for a pair of EpiPens has climbed repeatedly from around $94 in 2007, when Mylan acquired the product.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch defended the price hikes last week, saying the company only received $274 of the total price for a twin-package while insurers, pharmacies and other parties divvy up the rest.

Last week, Mylan said it was expanding programs that help people pay for EpiPens. 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.

A company representative said Monday that the $300 cards would be available only for the branded version, but patients could use its assistance program for both the branded and generic versions of the medicine.

How much an individual pays for an EpiPen prescription can depend on insurance coverage.