EpiPen controversy doesn’t seem to end. US Sen. Chuck Grassley said on Wednesday that Mylan has cost $1.27 billion to American taxpayers. EpiPen, the anti-allergy device, has been in the middle of a controversy since prices were increase unabashedly by the company. In October last year, the company had agreed to pay $465 million to the government for claim settlement. The new amount is three times as high as the previous settlement.
Senator Raises Concerns
Grassley, the Republican senator from Iowa, chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said, “The fact that the EpiPen overpayment is so much more than anyone discussed public should worry every taxpayer.”
EpiPen overcharges had raised concerns around the country as prices rose exponentially within a short span of time. This drug could be lifesaving and has been marketed as a generic drug. Such marketing helped Mylan is the Medicaid drug rebate program as brand-name drugs have to pay higher rebates.
Grassley mentioned that the disparities between the charges came across as the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services asked officials about overcharges. This led to a large gap between the company’s settlement quote and the amount it overcharged the users.
Per official’s, life-saving drug should have been counted as a brand-name product instead of a generic product in the Medicaid program.
Mylan Avoided the Problem for Long
Medicare and Medicaid service centers presented data to the judicial committee recently about the discrepancies. It shows that Mylan was aware that its drug has been misclassified in the program. However, the company did nothing about it to enjoy lower rebates. Grassley took a dig at the previous Obama administration for letting the company overcharge taxpayers.
Mylan did not comment much on the situation. A spokesperson said, “We have no comment beyond that we continue to work with the government to finalize the settlement as soon as possible.”
Mylan has faced severe backlash from the public as it raised the price of the EpiPen by 500 percent. The EpiPen now sells for $600. After the company faced public protest, it quickly introduced a generic version of the drug, selling for 50 percent of the EpiPen’s price. It also improved financial assistance.
Earlier, Mylan had denied underpayment of rebates till it finally settled in October 2016. Problems arose again as the company refused to comment on higher rebate payment for EpiPen in April. The company will now have to pay 23.1 percent rebate instead of 13 percent, but has not taken responsibility for the same.