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Senators scrutinize Mylan over EpiPen’s price increases

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Two senior U.S. senators are examining Mylan’s price increases for the popular EpiPen allergy shot, with one Republican saying the drugmaker’s practices may have limited access to the treatment.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked the drugmaker to explain “a steep price increase in the product in recent years,” citing complaints from constituents who say they have to pay as much as $500 for one of the pens. Grassley heads the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

“The substantial price increase could limit access to a much-needed medication,” Grassley wrote to Mylan Chief Executive officer Heather Bresch in an Aug. 22 letter.

In a separate letter Monday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Mylan’s practices with regards to EpiPen’s price. She called for the FTC to look into whether Mylan had done anything to deny competitors access to the market in order to keep raising prices.

EpiPen is a self-administered injection of epinephrine, a drug that can be used to treat allergic reactions from bee stings, food allergies or other triggers. Since acquiring the drug in 2007, Mylan has raised the price several times, up from about $57 a shot when it first took over sales of the product, a review of pricing data by Bloomberg found.

Mylan spokeswoman Nina Devlin declined to comment specifically on the letters. The company says that it offers several programs to help people afford the drug.

“Ensuring access to epinephrine — the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis — is a core part of our mission.

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