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Grassley seeks answers on EpiPen cost increase

This news story was published on August 24, 2016.
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WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley this week asked the manufacturer of the EpiPen, used for emergency treatment for life-threatening allergic reactions, to explain a steep price increase in the product in recent years.  Grassley cited concerns expressed to him from Iowans, including a father in Iowa who said he had to pay more than $500 for one EpiPen for his daughter.  Iowans also wrote to Grassley that since the pens expire after about a year, the cost is recurring.

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley

“In the case of EpiPens, I am concerned that the substantial price increase could limit access to a much-needed medication,” Grassley wrote to Heather Bresch, chief executive officer of Mylan.  “In addition, it could create an unsafe situation for patients as people, untrained in medical procedures, are incentivized to make their own kits from raw materials.”

Grassley described how the price increases have an effect on school budgets, when schools keep the drug on hand for emergencies, the effects on first responders who are making their own kits with epinephrine vials and syringes, and the effects on state and federal health care programs funded by taxpayers.  More than 40 percent of children are insured through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  “It follows that many of the children who are prescribed EpiPens are covered by Medicaid and therefore the taxpayers are picking up the tab for this medication,” Grassley wrote.

Grassley asked a series of questions about the pricing, including what analyses were conducted in determining the price, Mylan’s advertising budget for EpiPen in the first half of 2016 as well as 2015, an explanation of the features the company said have improved the product and its value, whether the company offers patient assistance programs, and whether the company has school assistance programs for providing the drug and if so, how many schools have used the programs.

Grassley works to address the rising cost of prescription drugs.  He introduced legislation that would deter brand name pharmaceutical companies from denying access to drug samples and blocking generic drug makers from developing less expensive generic alternatives. This is in addition to his legislation that would help put an end to pay-for-delay settlements between brand name pharmaceutical companies and generic companies that delay consumers’ access to lower-cost generics. Grassley also conducted oversight on the pricing of expensive new hepatitis drugs and their impact on the health care system.

Grassley’s letter is available here.

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18 Responses to Grassley seeks answers on EpiPen cost increase

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 26, 2016 at 8:41 am

    You know Chuck MYlan donated millions to the CLINTON FOUNDATION — corruption to the core with demorats.

  2. Lloyd Reply Report comment

    August 25, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Keep up the good work Congressman Grassley , the libmedia won’t tell the working people that their butt buddies own Milan & odummy care .

    • Bodacious Reply Report comment

      August 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      Mylan gave more money to republican candidates than Democratic candidates.

  3. Tax payer Reply Report comment

    August 24, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Government needs to regulate the pharmaceutical industry as well as the dental industry. Neither are controlled by the government like the rest of the healthcare system . This increase is outrageous !

    Am wondering why it costs $5000.oo to get one tooth fixed?

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 24, 2016 at 12:35 pm


    • anonymight Reply Report comment

      August 24, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Less govt. regulation is needed so competitors can enter the market and force prices down. How many times does this need to be proven before people get it?

      • Reality Check Reply Report comment

        August 24, 2016 at 12:48 pm

        The problem goes well beyond government regulations, its all the overpaid corporate pirates, politicians and lobbyists with their fingers in the pie. Together they hold the rest of us working slobs hostage.

    • Dick Neely Reply Report comment

      August 24, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      I find it funny that a $1000 dentist or Dr exam can drop down to a few hundred dollars if you just pay for it out of pocket. Gouging the insurance company just passes on to the consumer.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 24, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Election year smoke and mirrors from Uncle Chuck. Changing the subject and trying to dodge the bullet. Just vote up or down on the SCOTUS nominee before Hillary gets her pick and then you wont have a choice.

  5. Peter L Reply Report comment

    August 24, 2016 at 8:28 am

    It’s because the Mylan CEO Heather Bresch gave herself an 18 million dollar raise. The pen started out at $57 but was driven up to $500 by Bresch.

  6. Bodacious Reply Report comment

    August 24, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Mylan’s CEO has had an increased salary of 671% since they acquired EpiPen in 2007. She is now paid over $19 million a year.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 24, 2016 at 8:24 am

      Good job Bodacious.

      Look what else that Mylan has been up to, including the lobbying of Congress that helped them out.

      Also glad the Amy Klobuchar, senator form Minnesota has not contacted Mylan, but has contacted the Federal Trade Commission to look into this

      • Bodacious Reply Report comment

        August 24, 2016 at 3:28 pm

        Interesting. There is more in this article about past problems. It seems if you rob a gas station of $100 you can go to prison, but if you rob, lie, cheat, and scam, if you are a corporation, you can get a raise. Wow.

      • Bodacious Reply Report comment

        August 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm

        And if Mr. Trump is elected, then a SCOTUS nominee will be a right wing conservative who believes that corporations are people and thus, they can buy politicians. And the same old shit continues.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          August 24, 2016 at 6:34 pm

          And Bodie and the crat are at it again. Crats to the core. Tell me Bodie, what is the end game for you crats if you get your way and government controls everything? Hillary and Billary become billionaires but what do you and the other crats get out of it?

          • Bodacious

            August 25, 2016 at 11:13 pm

            So you like the idea of corporations controlling our economy and our politics? Must have a good deal of money in the stock market.

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 24, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Drug companies with huge profits are in bed with Chuck, along with profit rapists who run insurance companies. Expect nothing but political BS from Chuck and you will not be disappointed.

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 24, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Good for Grassley. This is something that really needs to be done. While he is at it he should go after the insulin manufacturers. Insulin prices have gone up 500% for no reason other than profit. Three manufacturers control the market and are price fixing to raise prices. $550 for a two month supply is out of line.