Mylan Faces Scrutiny Over EpiPen Price Increases

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Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is coming under new scrutiny for her company's decision to raise the price of lifesaving EpiPens more than fourfold over the past eight years.

Mylan's 17 price increases during that span, including two since a major competitor was recalled late past year, has emerged as the newest flashpoint in public scrutiny of drug costs.

Amy Klobuchar has criticized the sharp price hikes for EpiPens, the emergency drug injectors for severe allergic reactions, saying it's outrageous that the manufacturer is making money off the backs of kids and adults who have few alternatives.

Earlier this week, Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Mylan's chief executive questioning the price increase and asking for an explanation.

A two-dose package sold for an average $608 in May, according to the Elsevier database, and has possibly risen since then. For patients previously paying the full list price, the card effectively reduces their out-of-pocket cost exposure by 50 percent, Mylan said. It pointed out its savings programs for patients and free EpiPens for schools, with around half of USA schools participating.

In the U.S. House, Rep. Grace Meng, D-New York, on Tuesday asked the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to hold a hearing on the issue.

Shares of Mylan (MYL) were rising in pre-market trading on Thursday after the company said it would lower the out-of-pocket cost of its EpiPen, which treats life-threatening allergies.

In a statement issued Monday, Mylan said it has savings programs for patients and is also offering free EpiPens to schools.

Former head of Turing Pharmaceuticals Martin Shkreli is now under indictment for securities fraud.

Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal of CT and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota addressed the price hike at press conferences alongside doctors and affected families Wednesday. "They had one product, and they finally started making a little bit of money and everyone is going insane over it", said Shkreli. Her daughter's school requires one pack, while Ms. Donnelly said she follows recommendations and puts a second in her daughter's backpack and keeps another at home. $300. My iPhone is $700... "This change to the industry is not an easy challenge to address, but we recognize the need and are committed to working with customers and payors to find solutions to meet the needs of the patients and families we serve".