- Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter Monday to Mylan asking for justifications for the 400% price increase in the emergency allergy treatment EpiPen (epinephrine) Auto-injector.
- Grassley's letter notes the consumer outcry about the price of the emergency product and mentioned that some medical personal in some states are creating their own epinephrine kits to carry to avoid the high-cost product.
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also sent a separate letter to the Federal Trade Commission on Saturday requesting an investigation into Mylan's pricing of the product.
While Mylan is largely known for its generic business, the EpiPen has become one of its best-known and biggest revenue drivers, bringing in over $1 billion in 2015. The drug-device combination product is a treatment for anaphylactic shock caused by an allergic reaction – often to things like peanuts, shellfish or even bee stings.
The company fiercely defended the franchise after the allegations. "Mylan has worked tirelessly over the past several years advocating for increased anaphylaxis awareness, preparedness and access to treatment for those living with potentially life-threatening (severe) allergies. Ensuring access to epinephrine – the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis – is a core part of our mission," said a statement from the company in response to the letters.
Mylan noted that 80% of commercially insured patients using the EpiPen savings card paid nothing out of pocket for the product. The EpiPen savings card provides $100 discount on a two-pack carton. The company also pointed out that since it started its EpiPen4Schools program in 2012, 700,000 EpiPens have been given out at more than 65,000 schools.
The company spent a considerable part of its statement noting that insurance plans have shifted in recent years to include more high-deductible plans, resulting in more families paying higher co-pays and prices for drugs.
Mylan is the latest company to have its pricing practices called into question after a major price increase. Other companies that have come under fire include Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.