Heather Bresch

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Heather Manchin Bresch
Alma materWest Virginia University
OccupationChief executive officer
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Heather Manchin Bresch
Alma materWest Virginia University
OccupationChief executive officer

Heather Bresch is the CEO of Mylan, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based pharmaceutical corporation that describes itself as the third largest generics and specialty pharmaceutical company in the world.[1]


Bresch's previous roles included serving as Mylan's president, chief operating officer, head of North American operations and chief integration officer.[2] Bresch was appointed to Mylan's Board of Directors in March 2011.[3] She has been active in attempts to prevent brand-name pharmaceuticals from delaying the release of generic drugs and appeared before a special United States Senate committee on the issue in 2006[4][5] and again in 2009.[6] Bresch also testified before the Food and Drug Administration in September 2010 on the issue of generic drug user fees, proposing a new user fee structure that aims to generate more funding for the FDA and provide greater assurance for pharmaceutical product safety, regardless of where in the world the product or its ingredients come from.[7] On February 9, 2012, Bresch testified before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce in relation to drug supply chain integrity, drug shortages and the Generic Industry's Drug User Fee proposal (GDUFA).[8]


Bresch was named one of Fortune's "50 Most Powerful Women In Business" [9] in 2012 and 2013. In 2011, Bresch was named a Patriot of the Year by Esquire Magazine for her work which led to the passage of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act - legislation which will require foreign drugmakers that sell product in the U.S. to pay for regular facility inspections to support the FDA's efforts to continue ensuring drug safety for all U.S. consumers.[10] Also in 2011, Bresch was named one of Pharmaceutical Executive's "Emerging Pharma Leaders 2011."[11] In 2009, Bresch was named one of the top women in the global pharmaceutical industry by FiercePharma.[12]


Bresch, the daughter of West Virginia U.S. Senator and former West Virginia governor Joe Manchin, earned her undergraduate degree from West Virginia University.[2] She was an MBA student at West Virginia University until 1998. In 2007, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Bresch claimed to have an MBA degree from West Virginia University, but that when asked the university disputed that. Soon after, the university awarded her an MBA despite her having completed only 26 of the required 48 credits. Following release of a report commissioned by the university (and written by a panel of faculty members from WVU and other universities), the university announced in April 2008 that it would rescind Bresch's degree,[13] and WVU's provost announced his resignation from that administrative post (while remaining on the faculty).[14] On June 6, 2008, WVU President Michael Garrison resigned in the wake of the scandal.[15]

The university initially stated that it had awarded the degree after correcting a "records error."[16] Bresch claimed in April 2008 that she had arranged with the WVU Business School to have her "work experience" substitute for the outstanding coursework[17] - a claim reportedly denied by the then-head of the MBA program and rejected by the panel.[13]

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette characterized the panel's report [18] as criticizing the university administration for having made "a 'seriously flawed' decision fraught with favoritism" in awarding Bresch the degree; Michael Garrison, WVU President at the time, was reported to be "a family friend and former business associate of Bresch"[13] and a former consultant and lobbyist for Mylan.[19]

According to the New York Times, Bresch said in a statement that she "continues to believe she did what was required to earn her degree."[20] After WVU announced in February 2009 that it would not rescind other degrees where students' records contained irregularities, Bresch wrote to the university demanding an explanation for what differentiated her situation from the others.[21] The panel investigating the situation had found that "the argument that other WVU students were similarly situated to Ms. Bresch...is not the case" and that some other students' records contained only "a handful of relatively minor administrative problems".[18]:p.11

In the 2008 election campaign, Manchin challenger Russ Weeks attempted to exploit the Bresch affair by offering "University of Mojo" diplomas, implying that Manchin was implicated in the attempt to grant his daughter an unearned degree. The Manchin campaign maintained that the governor had not been involved in the affair.[22]


  1. ^ Mylan Inc. home page
  2. ^ a b http://investor.mylan.com/management.cfm
  3. ^ “Robert Cindrich, Heather Bresch named to Mylan board”, Pittsburgh Business Times, 1 March 2011
  4. ^ "Mylan Calls for End to Abusive Practices That Delay Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals", PR Newswire, 20 July 2006, accessed 2008-04-24
  5. ^ "Mylan testifies before Senate special committee on aging", Observer-Reporter (Washington, PA), 21 July 2006, accessed on 2008-04-24
  6. ^ Brent Kendall, "Lawmakers, Drug Makers Spar Over Patent Settlements", Wall Street Journal, 3 June 2009
  7. ^ http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/NewsEvents/UCM226845.pdf
  8. ^ http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Health/20120209/HTMG-112-HHRG-IF14-WState-HBresch-20120209.pdf
  9. ^ http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/most-powerful-women/2012/full_list/
  10. ^ "Esquire's Americans of the Year: Patriots", Esquire Magazine, 19 November 2011, accessed 2012-01-31
  11. ^ http://pharmexec.findpharma.com/pharmexec/Profiles/Emerging-Pharma-Leaders-2011/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/726109?contextCategoryId=48158
  12. ^ "Heather Bresch - Top 15 Women in Pharma”, FiercePharma 12 Oct. 2009
  13. ^ a b c Len Boselovic and Patricia Sabatini, "University revokes degree after scathing report on M.B.A. awarded to Bresch", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 24 April 2008, accessed 2008-04-24
  14. ^ "Provost Quits Over Degree to Governor’s Child", New York Times, 28 April 2008, accessed 2008-04-28
  15. ^ "College president to quit over degree scandal", MSNBC.com 6 June 2008, accessed 2008-06-06
  16. ^ Jake Stump, "Official says controversy of Heather Bresch's WVU degree calls for investigation," Charleston Daily Mail, 28 December 2007, accessed 2008-04-24
  17. ^ "Mylan Chairman Defends COO", CNN Money, 10 April 2008, retrieved 2008-04-24
  18. ^ a b WVU investigative panel's report
  19. ^ Ian Urbina, "University Investigates Whether Governor’s Daughter Earned Degree", New York Times, 22 January 2008, accessed 2008-04-24
  20. ^ Ian Urbina, "Criticism for Degree to Governor’s Daughter", New York Times, 25 April 2008, accessed 2008-04-25
  21. ^ Vicki Smith, "Governor's daughter seeks answer on revoked degree", AP, 7 February 2009
  22. ^ Phil Kabler, "'Mojo' diplomas haven't been big earners", The Charleston Gazette, 24 September 2008