WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday said pharmaceutical firms risked damaging their reputations with big price hikes, but it sidestepped commenting directly on Mylan NV's decision to raise the price of its severe allergy treatment drug EpiPen.

"I'm obviously not going to make specific comments to specifically second guess the pricing strategy ... of one private enterprise," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a news briefing.

"I will observe, however, that pharmaceutical companies that often try to portray themselves as the inventors of life-saving medication often do real damage to their reputation by being greedy and jacking up prices," he said.

(Reporting by Timothy Ahmann, editing by G Crosse)