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Warren, Markey & other Senators Express Serious Concerns About Mylan’s Price Hike on EpiPens

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

 

In a letter sent on Tuesday to the CEO of Pharmaceutical company Mylan, 20 senators including Elizabeth Warren, Edward Markey (D-Mass), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) expressed their serious concerns about the company's recent significant price hikes for the life saving EpiPen Auto-Injector. The CEO of the company is the daughter of another U.S. Senator -- Joe Manchin of West Virginia is father of Mylan CEO Heather Bresch.

Read the Letter Here 

"The EpiPen...has become so exorbitantly expensive that access to this life saving combination product is in jeopardy for many Americans. Mylan's near monopoly on the epinephrine auto-injector market has allowed you to increase prices well beyond those that are justified by any increase in the costs of manufacturing the EpiPen," the senators wrote. 

The senators raised questions about Mylan's decision to expand its patient assistance program which allows the company to sharply increase prices while passing the cost of the increases onto insurance companies and ultimately to consumers, as well as to introduce an authorized generic EpiPen at more than half the price of the branded EpiPen. 

The letter notes that in response to public concern about the rising cost of EpiPen, Mylan has expanded its current accessibility programs including increasing the maximum value of its savings car from $100 to $300. 

"When patients receive short-term co-pay assistance for expensive drugs, they may be insulated from price hikes, but insurance companies, the government, and employers still bear the burden of these excessive prices. In turn, those costs are eventually passed on to consumers in the form of higher premiums, but the drug company is no longer in the spotlight.  Because couponing can massively inflate costs, this practice has been outlawed by the government in Medicare and Medicaid. But couponing practices are perfectly legal for commercial insurance and Affordable Care Act exchange coverage," the Senators wrote. 

The senators requested that Mylan answer a series of questions to provide additional information about the impact that the EpiPen price hike and the  associated changes in Mylan's patient assistance program and other accessibility programs will have on consumers and on taxpayers. 

The letter was signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jon Tester (D-Mt.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

 

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