Twenty senators wrote to Mylan CEO Heather Bresch Tuesday, calling the company’s recently-announced EpiPen affordability steps “a well-defined industry tactic to keep costs high through a complex shell game.”
The senators, 19 Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, wrote that the company’s decision to offer a generic version of EpiPens and offer a discount coupon for patients paying the full list price out-of-pocket still results in high costs for patients through insurance premiums.
“When patients receive short-term co-pay assistance for expensive drugs, they may be insulated from price hikes, but insurance companies, the government, and employers still bear the burden of these excessive prices,” they wrote. “In turn, those costs are eventually passed on to consumers in the form of higher premiums.”
The lawmakers, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent several questions to Bresch, the latest group of lawmakers to do so since the company came under fire for its fast-rising list price.
Information requested by the lawmakers includes how many customers use Mylan’s savings card to purchase EpiPens, how the company’s patient assistance program works and how the company partners with schools.
They ask about what steps Mylan must take before it can sell an authorized generic version of EpiPen and for a timeline for the generic’s release. They also ask about how Mylan plans to ensure consumers can access the generic, through patient assistance programs or otherwise.
“The generic raises additional questions about Mylan’s pricing of EpiPens,” they write. “The price of the generic, for example, is still three times higher than the cost of the branded EpiPen in 2007.”