Mylan faces antitrust investigation over EpiPen sales to New York schools

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday that his office is opening an antitrust probe into Mylan after a preliminary review suggested the drugmaker may have inserted "potentially anti-competitive terms into its EpiPen (epinephrine) sales contracts with numerous local school systems." Schneiderman remarked that "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 themaccountable."

A spokesperson for Mylan said the company's EpiPen4Schools programme, which provides free EpiPen auto-injectors to US schools, "continues to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations" adding that "there are no purchase requirements for participation…nor have there ever been." Mylan also pointed out that "previously, schools that wished to purchase EpiPen auto-injectors beyond those they were eligible to receive free under the programme, could elect to do so at a certain discount level with a limited purchase restriction, but such restriction no longer remains."

The news comes after US lawmakers recently asked Mylan to provide information to justify the company's EpiPen pricing over the years, which has gone from $100 in 2008 for a two-pen set, to more than $600 this year. Mylan has since lowered the cost of the allergy treatment for patients through a discount programme and also announced late last month that it will introduce the first generic version of EpiPen "in several weeks" time, at less than half the cost of the branded product. 

Meanwhile, US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently unveiled a plan targeting "unjustified" price increases for medicines. She indicated that the plan builds on a previously announced initiative to combat alleged price gouging in the pharmaceutical industry. 

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Mylan competes with itself, but generic EpiPen launch unlikely to calm firestorm. See also ViewPoints: Mylan scrutinised.

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