As school season is about to begin, members of Congress express concern over the soaring prices of Mylan’s EpiPen, voicing the complaints of anxious parents.
According to an article in the New York Times:
Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who leads the Judiciary Committee, was the latest to weigh in on Monday, sending a letter to the head of the pharmaceutical company Mylan, which produces EpiPens. Mr. Grassley demanded an explanation for the 400 percent price increase — to as much as $600 — since the company acquired the product in 2007.
Earlier, Senator Amy Klobuchar called for a Judiciary Committee to inquire into “the pricing and an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.”
U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng submitted a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, requesting a hearing on the price increase of Mylan’s EpiPens.
“As a mother, and as a Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Kids’ Safety Caucus, I urge my colleagues on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to look into the recent price increase of EpiPens. Thousands of Americans rely on EpiPens in a given year, and perhaps no time is more important in the purchasing of these devices than the beginning of a new school year,” said Meng. “The free market can be a wonderful engine for good in our society, and it has certainly led to the production of countless medical innovations. We must be vigilant, however, to not cross the line of price-gouging, especially when a product has been around for a generation and is incredibly cheap to produce. It is my hope that every parent with a child who suffers from serious allergies can find an EpiPen, or its equivalent, that their household afford.”
Mylan said that “product improvements” have driven up the cost of EpiPens. They further add that the company offers discounts and that most of the devices are covered by the insurance. Other sources say that Mylan issued a statement, “pointing the finger at high-deductible health plans that require consumers to pay much more out of pocket for many drugs.”
According to WILX News:
Doctors say [the] technology hasn’t changed much and there is no real reason for the price hike. However, a competitor of the EpiPen recently stopped producing its product, giving Mylan—the maker of EpiPens—somewhat of a monopoly.
Mylan acquired the EpiPen in 2007, at which time pharmacies paid less than $100 for a two-pen set. In May of 2016, however, the price rose to $608.61, according to reports.
On social media, a petition to Congress has emerged with 48,000 signatures, called “Stop the EpiPen Price Gouging.”