Healthcare

Dem wants hearing on EpiPen price hikes

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Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) is calling for a full committee hearing on the cost of EpiPens, lifesaving injections for people suffering from a severe allergic reaction.

In a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday, Meng expressed her concerns about the dramatic increase in the cost of EpiPens.

{mosads}Forbes.com reported Monday that the product’s price has seen a 400 percent increase, from $57 to more than $500, since Mylan acquired the autoinjector in 2007.

“The availability and affordability of this product could literally mean the difference between life and death for thousands of Americans,” Meng said in her letter. “Unfortunately, I fear this dramatic increase in price over such a short period of time could have tragic consequences.”

Citing recent reports, Meng said EpiPens inject less than a dollar’s worth of the life-saving drug epinephrine into a person suffering from anaphylaxis — a severe allergic reaction that may result in death.

“It is unclear to me what warrants such a dramatic mark-up in prices and it is my hope that a hearing before your committee will answer that question,” she said.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said majority and minority staff members scheduled a call with the company and discussed holding a hearing after receiving Meng’s letter Tuesday.

“The recent price increase for EpiPens places a financial burden on those who desperately need this drug to prevent life threatening allergic reactions, which is why we have expressed our desire for an investigation of this issue and for the Committee to hold a hearing in September,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member, said in a statement.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is also speaking out about the price hike.

“Soaring #EpiPen prices are unacceptable–children across America depend on this lifesaving medicine. We cannot gamble w/our children’s health,” he tweeted Tuesday with a link to an article in The New York Times.

In a letter Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked EpiPen’s manufacturer to provide an explanation for the increase in price.

Mylan has said higher deductibles in insurance plans are leaving consumers more exposed to the price. 

–This report was updated at 3:22 p.m.

Tags Allergy Chuck Grassley Dick Durbin Epinephrine autoinjector Medical emergencies Mylan

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