Mylan, the embattled manufacturer of the lifesaving EpiPen, and CEO Heather Bresch, already under investigation for unscrupulous price hikes and shady business practices, could also find themselves facing a federal False Claims Act lawsuit before long.
Three members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch Wednesday asking the Justice Department to investigate whether Mylan illegally wrongfully classified the EpiPen under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, which would allow it to repay a lower percentage of its sales to states in the form of rebates.
Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-IA, and Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, and Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, penned the letter to Attorney General Lynch, indicating Mylan should not have classified the EpiPen as an “innovator” drug because it does not have an FDA-approved competitor to warrant the “generic” classification.
“Just as they’ve overcharged consumers, they are also overcharging the government and, potentially, fraudulently lying to the government, and that’s a crime,” Sen. Blumenthal told ABC News. “If Mylan misstated to the government the nature of its product so as to inflate its own profits, it should be held accountable.”
Myan has fallen under harsh criticism and congressional hearings for its drastic EpiPen price hikes. The drug, which people with severe allergies must carry with them to stop a deadly reaction, cost $100 for a two-pack in 2009 but costs more than $600 today.
CEO Bresch’s own salary has kept pace with the EpiPen price hikes. In 2007 she made $2.5 million annually, but last year she made $19 million – a raise of nearly 700 percent.
The U.S. Justice Department said that it received the letter from the senators, but it has not said whether it will investigate the Mylan for False Act Claims violations.
Source: ABC News