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US Senators Demand Answers from EpiPen Maker

  • VOA News

FILE - In this July 8, 2016, file photo, a pharmacist holds a package of EpiPens epinephrine auto-injector, a Mylan product, in Sacramento, Calif. Mylan said it will make available a generic version of its EpiPen, as criticism mounts over the price.

FILE - In this July 8, 2016, file photo, a pharmacist holds a package of EpiPens epinephrine auto-injector, a Mylan product, in Sacramento, Calif. Mylan said it will make available a generic version of its EpiPen, as criticism mounts over the price.

A group of 20 senators expressed their continued dissatisfaction with pharmaceutical company Mylan's handling of a price hike for their EpiPen product in a letter to the company's CEO.

Having come under fire in recent weeks for unprecedented price hikes of the EpiPen, Mylan has announced coupons and generic versions of the drug. But the group of Democrat senators, which includes Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, remain unconvinced.

"Your discount programs, however, represent a well-defined industry tactic to keep costs high through a complex shell game," the senators wrote. They elaborated that the high price of the drug would now be borne by the government, insurance companies, and workplaces, only to eventually increase premiums of those purchasing the drugs.

"The EpiPen ... has become so exorbitantly expensive that access to this life-saving combination product is in jeopardy for many Americans. As of May 2016, Mylan has increased the price of EpiPens in the United States by nearly 500 percent," the letter stated.

It noted the generic drug, which will be sold at $300, costs nearly three times as much as the branded version did just seven years ago. The letter also includes five pages of questions about Mylan's customers and costs, to which the senators demanded answers by September 12.

EpiPens are used to treat anaphylactic shock, a symptom of severe allergies often experienced by children that could lead to death.

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