Exclusive: EpiPen price hikes add millions to Pentagon costs

Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:34pm EDT
 
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By Caroline Humer and Ruthy Munoz

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mylan NV's price hikes on EpiPens have added millions to U.S. Department of Defense spending since 2008 as the agency covered more prescriptions for the lifesaving allergy shot at near retail prices, government data provided to Reuters shows.

Pentagon spending rose to $57 million over the past year from $9 million in 2008 - an increase driven both by volume and by price hikes that had a bigger bite on prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies, according to the previously unreported data.

The Pentagon gets a government discount on EpiPens dispensed at military treatment facilities and by mail order. But nearly half of its spending was at retail pharmacies where it most recently paid an average of $509 for EpiPen and $528 for EpiPen Jr two-packs - three times higher than its discounted rate, the data shows.

That may change. Both the Pentagon and Mylan told Reuters that discussions are underway that could extend the military discount to EpiPens filled at retail pharmacies through the use of rebates.

Mylan spokeswoman Nina Devlin declined to comment on the specific Department of Defense spending. She said in an emailed statement that talks were underway to address "any questions or concerns from the agency."

She declined to say if any repayment was on the table.

A Reuters analysis of the data estimated a difference of about $54 million between what the agency paid for EpiPens at retail pharmacies from 2009 through 2016 and what it would have paid at military clinics.

Mylan Chief Executive Officer Heather Bresch has drawn public scrutiny for raising the U.S. list price on a pack of two injectors nearly six-fold to $600 since 2008.   Continued...

 
EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers are seen in Washington, U.S. August 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo