Senate panel launches EpiPen investigation

Senate panel launches EpiPen investigation
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The Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on investigations on Wednesday announced that it is opening an inquiry into recent surges in the price of EpiPens. 

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The rising cost of the device, which treats serious allergic reactions, has provoked an uproar in and outside the halls of Congress. The House Oversight and Senate Judiciary committees have also pressed EpiPen maker Mylan for answers. 

The investigation was announced Wednesday by the chairman of the Senate investigative panel, Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanBare bones repeal plan gains steam in Senate Overnight Healthcare: Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan | Ads target Heller, Capito over vote | Dem says ObamaCare repeal effort moving US 'toward single-payer' Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan MORE (R-Ohio), who is up for reelection this year, and the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillMattis rips Pentagon officials for M wasted on Afghanistan camouflage Pentagon to address M spent on untested Afghan camouflage: report Federal Election Commission must not shy away from Russia probe MORE (Mo.).

Lawmakers have so far not been satisfied with steps Mylan has taken to increase the discounts available for EpiPens and offer a cheaper, generic version. The price of EpiPens has increased more than 400 percent in recent years, to around $600. 

So far, though, lawmakers have focused on letters and asking the company questions. A legislative response to the issue of high drug prices would be more politically fraught and could open longstanding divides between the parties. 

“The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has opened a preliminary inquiry concerning Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ pricing and competition practices with respect to the EpiPen,” the committee said in a statement Wednesday. “Our review of this matter will be robust, thorough, and bipartisan. Parents and school districts in Ohio, Missouri and across the country need affordable access to this life-saving drug, and we share their concern over Mylan’s sustained price increases.”