Mylan to Grassley: No thanks
- Senator Chuck Grassley expressed his ire Monday afternoon, issuing a statement saying EpiPen-maker Mylan has declined to attend a Nov. 30 hearing of the Judiciary Committee.
- Mylan isn't the only one that wasn't interested in attending; both the Justice Department and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) told the Senator that they would not be sending any representatives to the meeting.
- The meeting of the Judiciary Committee, which Grassley helms, is being set up to discuss the potential settlement between Mylan and the Justice Department regarding the company's pricing practices for EpiPen.
"The Obama Administration is dodging accountability for an expensive problem, and now a company is following its bad example. Taxpayers have paid and based on reports, continue to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for the EpiPen than they have to pay. This happened because either the agencies in charge dropped the ball, the company gamed the system, or both," chastised Grassley in a statement on his website.
In a letter to Grassley, Mylan's lawyers base the decision not to attend on the fact that the matter is still pending and that the government agencies are not attending either.
Mylan has been facing scrutiny of its pricing practices since late summer when a media report noted the sharp increase in price the EpiPen has undergone since Mylan acquired the product in 2007.
EpiPen, which is used in emergency situations to avert potentially fatal allergic reactions, is combines a generically available drug with Mylan's patented auto-injector.
The price of the drug has skyrocketed from $100 for two pens to more than $600 for the two-pack. In response to criticism, Mylan has taken several measures to redeem itself in the eyes of the public, vowing to offer an unbranded generic alternative for half the price and giving a $300 discount to patients who are uninsured or underinsured. Despite those steps, the company has remained in the public eye.
Meanwhile, few alternatives to EpiPen exist. Although companies like Teva and Adamis Pharmaceuticals have been developing other therapies, regulatory, legal and safety issues have held these products back.
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