House committee to conduct hearings on EpiPen maker Mylan

House committee to conduct hearings on EpiPen maker Mylan

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The House Oversight Committee will conduct a hearing with executives from Mylan, a pharmaceutical company that has significantly increased the price of the EpiPen, an auto-injector used to treat severe allergic reactions.

Witnesses for the hearing, which start Sept. 21, will include Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch, the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Doug Throckmorton, deputy director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also is scheduled to testify as legislators have questioned the agency about delays in approving a generic version of the pen.

“There is justified outrage from families and schools across the country struggling to afford the high cost of EpiPens,” committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking Democrat Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland said in a joint statement. “We look forward to receiving answers next week from Mylan about its dramatic price hike for this life-saving medication. We also plan to examine ways to encourage greater competition in the EpiPen market and to speed FDA’s approval of acceptable new generic applications.”

The company has raised the price of the life-saving injection to $500 for a two-pack, from $57 a shot when it took over production of the product in 2007.

Two weeks ago, Chaffetz and Cummings sent a letter to Bresch requesting documents and communications regarding the increasing price of EpiPens, company’s revenues from sales of EpiPens, manufacturing costs and how much it receives from federal government healthcare programs.

Bresch, who became Mylan’s CEO in 2002, helped lead the company’s lobbying efforts to have schools carry EpiPens for students with allergies.

Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his office has launched an antitrust investigation of Mylan’s contracts with school districts.

The company recently reduced the patient cost of pens through the use of a savings card, which will cover up to $300 for a two-pack. Mylan also is doubling the eligibility for its patient assistance program to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for uninsured and underinsured patients and families.

The Senate Permanent Select Subcommittee on Investigations also has opened a preliminary inquiry.