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Hannon asks AG to investigate skyrocketing costs of EpiPens

State Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City

State Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City Photo Credit: AP / Mike Groll

A Long Island senator has asked the state attorney general to investigate skyrocketing prices of epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) by the drug’s manufacturer, saying the hikes occurred “without any justification.”

Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, noted that Mylan Pharmaceutical has raised the price by more than 75 percent over the last year, bringing the cost of a two-pen set to $600. Meanwhile, compensation for the company’s CEO, Heather Bresch — the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — has grown from $2.4 million annually to about $19 million, according to media reports.

EpiPens are the go-to drug injectors for children and adults suffering from severe allergic reactions.

“The Mylan increase of EpiPens comes without any justification,” Hannon said in his letter to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “Mylan is not seeking to recover research and development costs. Manufacturing costs are stable. It seems the only explanation for the cost hike is profit and the lack of competition, which raises antitrust concerns.”

Further, “Mylan knows they have the consumer’s hands tied,” Hannon said, a reference to the company owning the most widely prescribed auto-injector on the market.

Eric Soufer, a Schneiderman spokesman, said in an email: “The attorney general is deeply troubled by the rapid price increase of EpiPens. Our office’s antitrust and healthcare bureaus are actively reviewing the matter.”

Hannon noted that New York legislators passed a law this year to expand patient access to EpiPens — an action that might allow Mylan even greater profits, he said.

Mylan didn’t immediately comment. Earlier this week, the company sent Newsday a statement in which it didn’t explain the price increase but defended the cost, saying prices had always been rising. The company said families were feeling an increased financial burden because of changes in the insurance industry and high deductible insurance plans.

On Thursday, Mylan expanded assistance programs that help patients with high out-of-pocket expenses. according to the Associated Press.

Schneiderman’s office didn’t immediately comment.

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