Mylan, the company that produces EpiPens, recently informed the Senate Judiciary Committee that they would not be participating at the hearing. The Senate plans to question Mylan about the settlement with the United States Justice Department and the ever-rising EpiPen prices.
The team of lawyers representing the pharmaceutical company sent a detailed letter to Senator Chuck Grassley’s committee informing him that the Netherlands-based company would not be answering any questions related to the Justice Department agreement or the accusations of overcharging Medicaid for the drugs.
The Senator’s office released the letter on Monday. The document is dated from last Friday, November 18th. Lawyers invoked the refusal of participation in both Medicare and the Justice Department. According to them, if the two institutions already refused to attend, the company reserves the right to make the same decision.
Senator Grassley declared that the Obama administration is trying to circumvent the accusations, the pharmaceutical company mimicking its deeds. He continued by stating that taxpayers are currently forced to pay inexplicably high amounts of money for drugs whose production expenses do not justify their final price.
Moreover, according to the senator, such a thing was possible because the company succeeded in gaming the system, or because the agencies made a mistake that they are now reluctant to admit. Both explanations are possible.
The Senator decided to call the hearing after proof of Mylan inflating EpiPen prices surfaced. It seems like the company has been slowly raising the prices for its life-saving medicine without any justification from the point of view of production costs.
Furthermore, the consumers, insurance companies, and Medicare were all forced to pay the roaring prices as there are no cheaper substitutes on the market.
The product has not changed for years, the Senator finding no justification for the ever-rising financial demands of the pharmaceutical prices.
Mylan was held accountable for overcharging government agencies for years, the company reaching a record $465 million settlement with the Justice Department.
Senate members did not agree with the settlement, labeling it as a regulatory loophole that allowed the Netherlands-based company to escape a more severe penalty. Moreover, some Senate representatives believe that both Mylan and Justice Department representatives must make a public statement to justify the settlement as the monetary damage made by the pharmaceutical company affected all United States citizens.
The Senate committee does have subpoena powers, but the instances in which they were used are rare, so there is no way of knowing that the hearing will be rescheduled.
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