Connolly: Panel Aims to ‘make Example' of ‘indefensible' EpiPen Hike

WASHINGTON — In light of recent EpiPen price hikes, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee aims to settle the difference between fair pricing and price gouging by making an example of drugmaker Mylan.

“We’re hoping, on multiple levels, for the company to defend what looks like an indefensible action in price gouging. The price of a two-pack EpiPen has now gone up 450 percent since 2007 and that’s just outrageous,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, a member of the committee, told WTOP on Wednesday morning.

The committee launched an investigation into the drugmaker on Monday with a letter to Mylan CEO Heather Bresch. The letter asked the company to provide a briefing by Sept. 6, and documentation on Mylan’s profits from EpiPen sales by Sept. 12.

In 2007, EpiPens cost $94, Connolly said. Now, a two-pack costs $609 — actually an increase of more than 500 percent — possible through what Connolly called Mylan’s “virtual monopoly” on the drug.

“I hope that any layman can come to the same conclusion that this is price-gouging, [done] because they can,” Connolly said.

He added that Mylan moved its corporate headquarters from the United States to the Netherlands “to avoid taxation.”

“They pay almost zero in U.S. taxes and show very little responsibility, obviously, with respect to customers as well,” he said. “When you raise prices because you can, an especially when it’s a lifesaving drug like EpiPen is … merits some real careful scrutiny.”

Connolly said the committee has already gotten some response from the company in the form of a discounted generic product, “virtually identical” to the brand-name EpiPen, that’s being sold at half the price.

“Clearly there was a lot of discretion in the pricing of this drug. And it’s purely driven by profit motive,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with profit, but you have to take into account the millions of people who also depend on the drug.”

He hopes the investigation can “make an example from the company.”

The post Connolly: Panel aims to ‘make example’ of ‘indefensible’ EpiPen hike appeared first on WTOP.

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