ALBANY — State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Tuesday that he has launched an antitrust investigation into the skyrocketing cost of the epinephrine auto-injector more commonly known as EpiPen.
EpiPens are the go-to drug injectors for children and adults suffering from severe allergic reactions and are the most widely prescribed on the market. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, maker of the EpiPen, has raised the price by more than 75 percent over the last year, bringing the cost of a two-pen set to $600 and sparking calls for investigations.
Schneiderman, a Democrat, said a preliminary review by his office “revealed that Mylan Pharmaceuticals may have inserted potentially anticompetitive terms into its EpiPen sales contracts with numerous local school systems.”
“If Mylan engaged in anticompetitive business practices, or violated antitrust laws with the intent and effect of limiting lower cost competition, we will hold them accountable,” Schneiderman said in announcing the investigation.
Mylan didn’t comment directly on Schneiderman’s announcement. But it did issue a statement that its program to distribute EpiPens in schools “continues to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations.” It noted that the company has provided 700,000 free auto-injectors to schools around the nation.
“There are no purchase requirements for participation in the program, nor have there ever been to receive free EpiPen Auto-Injectors,” the company said. “Previously, schools who wished to purchase EpiPen Auto-Injectors beyond those they were eligible to receive free under the program could elect to do so at a certain discount level with a limited purchase restriction, but such restriction no longer remains.”
Amid the uproar over price hikes, the company announced in August that its U.S. subsidiary will put out a generic version of the EpiPen that will have a list price of $300 for a two-pack — about half the current price.