NY AG Launches Probe Into Whether EpiPen Maker Scammed Schools
After price gouging scandal, Mylan now faces accusations of violating anti-trust laws
After stirring national outrage over its alleged price gouging of emergency allergy drug EpiPen, pharmaceutical giant Mylan is under fire once again for potentially violating anti-trust laws by inserting "potentially anticompetitive terms" into its EpiPen sales contracts to schools.
In a statement announcing the launch of a new investigation Tuesday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman declared: "No child's life should be put at risk because a parent, school, or healthcare provider cannot afford a simple, life-saving device because of a drug-maker’s anti-competitive practices."
Vowing to "bring the full resources of my office to this critical investigation," Schneiderman continued, "If Mylan engaged in anti-competitive business practices, or violated antitrust laws with the intent and effect of limiting lower cost competition, we will hold them accountable...Allergy sufferers have enough concerns to worry about—the availability of life-saving medical treatment should not be one of them."
A preliminary probe by the office of the New York AG reportedly found evidence suggesting that Mylan may have "locked schools into non-competitive contracts in order to purchase the EpiPens at an affordable price," according to Bloomberg, citing an undisclosed person familiar with the matter.
Echoing those concerns, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on Tuesday sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calling on the agency "to issue Mylan an administrative subpoena to determine whether the company deliberately engaged in exclusionary practices to hinder its competitors and maintain its monopoly position in the market," The Hill reports.
The lawmakers cited a document that appeared to confirm allegations of the illegal contracts, which they said could be in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair methods of competition.
"The FTC must investigate whether Mylan has maintained its monopoly position through the use of these exclusive supply contracts, enabling the company to engage in price gouging for EpiPens by blocking rivals from becoming effective competitors," the letter stated.
The embattled drug-maker is already the subject of national scorn after it was revealed to have increased the price of the life-saving drug 400 percent since 2009, while at the same time rewarding company executives with exorbitant bonuses.
Attempts by the drugmaker to remedy the scandal, through the creation of discount programs and a generic alternative, were blasted last week by a group of 20 lawmakers, including progressive darlings Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), as industry "shell games."