MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is calling on the federal government to investigate a 500 percent price increase for a two-pack of EpiPens. In 2009, the price was $100, but the same EpiPen two-pack now costs more than $600 without insurance.
The price hike is troubling for EpiPen patients, who know a life-threatening allergic reaction can come on without warning. Drug maker Mylan is blaming insurance companies for footing less of the bill.
Sen. Klobuchar wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, calling for an investigation into whether Mylan Pharmaceuticals has engaged in activities, such as using incentives or exclusionary contracts with insurers, distributors, or pharmacies, to deny an alternative product access to the market. The senator has also called for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing to investigate the cost increase.
“I write to request the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigate whether Mylan Pharmaceuticals has violated the antitrust laws regarding the sale of its epinephrine auto-injector, EpiPen. Many Americans, including my own daughter, rely on this life-saving product to treat severe allergic reactions,” Klobuchar wrote to the FTC. “Although the antitrust laws do not prohibit price gouging, regardless of how unseemly it may be, they do prohibit the use of unreasonable restraints of trade to facilitate or protect a price increase. The FTC should investigate whether Mylan Pharmaceuticals engaged in activity, such as using incentives or exclusionary contracts with insurers, distributors, or pharmacies, to deny an alternative product access to the market. While the Senate Judiciary committee should explore both the potential consumer and antitrust violations that could be involved here, I ask that within 90 days you provide any guidance or policy proposals to make these markets more competitive and eliminate the ability of some drug manufacturers to reap windfall profits at the expense of consumers who need access to life-saving products.”
Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Klobuchar will be joined by doctors from Children's Specialty Center in Minneapolis and a family impacted by the EpiPen price hike to bring attention to the issue.