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By Grace Carr
Mylan’s EpiPen company has robbed taxpayers roughly $1.27 billion over the last decade, according to a U.S. government report released Wednesday.
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa posted a copy of the report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office, saying that Mylan shortchanged the Medicaid program by classifying EpiPen as a generic drug rather than a brand-name product.
By law, pharmaceutical companies must reimburse 13 percent of the total cost of a generic drug that’s paid for by Medicaid. In contrast, name brand drugs have to reimburse 23.1 percent.
Mylan acquired rights to sell EpiPens in 2007 and began receiving heat in August 2016, when it was discovered that its CEO, Heather Bresch, raised the price of EpiPens by 461 percent since acquiring the drug.
EpiPens went from $57 in 2007 to nearly $600 in 2016, and without a generic version on the market, the company could name any price.
Grassley followed the release of Wednesday’s report with a statement, saying, “As part of bringing down drug costs, we have to make sure companies that take part in federal health care programs aren’t gaming the system.” He added that it’s Congress’s job to make sure taxpayers “don’t overpay for EpiPens.”
Grassley has pushed Mylan to explain why EpiPen was misclassified by the agency, but the company never provided the requested documents to the committee, according to Bloomberg.
In October, Mylan settled to pay $465 million to the U.S. government for misclassifying the drug, but refused to admit wrongful action. Even after the settlement, Mylan continued to jack up prices and rip off taxpayers until the HHS report came to light Wednesday.
Grassley indicated that the final price that Mylan will pay has not yet been determined but it is much more than what the Obama administration had indicated they would settle.
“Taxpayers have a right to know what happened here and to be repaid whatever they are owed,” Grassley said.