CEO Of EpiPen Maker Mylan To Face Congressional Hearing Next Week

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In recent weeks, members of both the House and Senate have raised questions about the soaring price of — and potential antitrust concerns surrounding — emergency allergy treatment EpiPen. A congressional committee confirmed this morning that it will soon hold a hearing on the issue, and that Heather Bresch, CEO of EpiPen maker Mylan, has been called to testify.

The House Oversight Committee will hold the hearing — titled “Reviewing the Rising Price of EpiPens” — on Wed. Sept. 21 at 10 a.m. ET.

Bresch — whose father is Joe Manchin, current U.S. Senator from West Virginia and former governor of that state — is expected to be joined by Dr. Doug Throckmorton, the FDA’s Deputy Director at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Mylan has come under fire for raising the price on EpiPen — a critical emergency treatment for anaphylaxis — by as much as 600% since acquiring the drug when it purchased Merck’s generics division nearly a decade ago.

“There is justified outrage from families and schools across the country struggling to afford the high cost of EpiPens,” reads a joint statement from committee Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (GA) and committee Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT). “We look forward to receiving answers next week from Mylan about its dramatic price hike for this life-saving medication.”

The price issue wouldn’t be so contentious is there was sufficient competition in the marketplace. Reps. Chaffetz and Cummings say the committee will “examine ways to encourage greater competition in the EpiPen market and to speed FDA’s approval of acceptable new generic applications.”

One lower-price competitor, AdrenaClick, is not as widely available and some pharmacies that do stock the product charge around the same price as they do for EpiPen. Mylan has announced plans for a generic version of EpiPen, but the sticker price on a two-pack of the drug would still be $300.

Teva Pharmaceuticals has been working on a competing product, but the FDA rejected this application in February for “major deficiencies.” However, Teva recently stated that it hopes to address those concerns and get its EpiPen alternative on the market by 2018.

Some emergency medical technicians have taken to creating their own Epi-Kits that provide them with everything they need to treat a patient in an emergency — at a cost of only around $20 each.

Lawmakers have also raised potential antitrust concerns regarding the EpiPen4Schools program, which provides participating schools with some of the epinephrine injectors at a discount price, but which also appears to prohibit these schools from purchasing any products that compete with EpiPen.

The New York attorney general’s office has already confirmed that it is investigating this issue. Meanwhile members of congress and consumer advocates — including our colleagues at Consumers Union — have called for a federal antitrust investigation.

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