House Launches Investigation Into EpiPen Price Gouging

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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The top two members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced Monday they are officially launching an investigation into Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that drastically raised the price of the EpiPen, an emergency allergy shot.

In a letter written to Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, the daughter of West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings demanded a briefing by Sept. 6 and detailed documents explaining the logic behind the 461 percent increase in pricing since 2007 by 5 p.m. Sept. 12.

“Mylan has a virtual monopoly over the epinephrine auto-injector market,” the lawmakers wrote. “While families and schools are struggling to keep up with your company’s unreasonable price increases, Mylan has profited richly from its pricing strategy.”

The EpiPen has served as a cash cow for the drugmaker, accounting for 40 percent of the pharmaceutical company’s operating profits in 2014. The cost of the life-saving drug has gone up from a wholesale price of $56.64 to $317.82 in just a few short years.

While the company has attempted to douse the firestorm of criticisms by extending its savings program and releasing a more reasonably priced alternative, lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum in both chambers of Congress are demanding answers on the dramatic increase from Mylan.
The House Oversight Committee launched a similar investigration into Turing Pharmaceuticals earlier in the year. The committee brought in former CEO Martin Shkreli for questioning over the company’s decision to raise the price of a life-saving AIDS drug Daraprim by nearly 5,000 percent.

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