Senate Republicans seek probe of Mylan EpiPen oversight

Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:45pm EDT
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By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mylan NV (MYL.O: Quote) faced new scrutiny over price hikes for its anti-allergy EpiPen on Tuesday, with U.S. lawmakers calling for a probe of oversight of the company’s rebates to government healthcare plans, while West Virginia said it was investigating whether Mylan defrauded its Medicaid department.

Mylan is grappling with a growing backlash from U.S. consumers, lawmakers and prosecutors over EpiPen prices, which have risen from about $100 in 2007 to more than $600 for a pair of the devices. The EpiPen delivers a dose of epinephrine, an antidote to a severe and potentially deadly allergic reaction to anything from nuts to bee stings.

The rising cost has made it difficult for many families to afford EpiPens, prompting a public outcry that has resonated with legislators.

Mylan Chief Executive Heather Bresch is to testify about the price hikes on Wednesday before an oversight committee of the House of Representatives. Bresch is the daughter of Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.

In her prepared testimony, released on Tuesday, Bresch said Mylan was already moving to address concerns about price by expanding discount programs and launching a $300 generic version.

She said that, after rebates, fees and costs, the company makes only about $100 per EpiPen pack, and that a majority of consumers pay less than $50 out of pocket for a pack.

Ahead of the hearing, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee said they were concerned that Mylan was allowed to inappropriately classify EpiPen as a generic drug, reducing the potential discounts to the government’s Medicaid health program for the poor.

“We are concerned that the controls in place, if any, are inadequate to ensure that Medicaid is receiving the full amount of rebates afforded to it by law,” the Senate Republicans, led by Orrin Hatch of Utah, said in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General.   Continued...

Mylan NL CEO Heather Bresch waits to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Rising Price of EpiPens at the Capitol in Washington, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas