Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Outraged Lawmakers Vow Action over Epipen Hikes

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Outraged Lawmakers Vow Action over Epipen Hikes

Article excerpt

New Jersey lawmakers expressed outrage at the dramatic increase in the cost of EpiPens at a hearing Thursday while pharmacists testified that some patients were going without their prescriptions because of the $600 price tag.

State lawmakers acknowledged there was little they could do to rein in costs, but they vowed to review insurance regulations to determine if new or existing laws could protect consumers from such high prices.

With the cost of the potentially lifesaving devices increasing more than 400 percent, the drug maker, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, has come under fire nationally, first offering a coupon for $300 and now saying the company would bring a generic to market.

Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said legislative staff would investigate state regulations regarding pharmaceutical pricing and insurance plans and determine why patients or their insurance companies end up paying $600 if the manufacturer posts a net price of $274.

The drug maker was invited to attend but did not send a representative nor did the company provide a statement, Vitale said.

"The cost is just outrageous and predatory," Vitale said.

No emergencies yet

Canonsburg, Pa.-based Mylan N.V. said Tuesday that more than 700,000 free EpiPens have been distributed to 65,000 schools.

"The program continues to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations," Mylan spokeswoman Nina Devlin said. "There are no purchase requirements for participation in the program, nor have there ever been to receive free EpiPen auto-injectors."

Ruth Marietta, president of the New Jersey Pharmacists Association, testified Thursday that she has about two customers a week who forgo the prescription because of the cost. After the hearing Marietta said she had not learned of any health emergencies as a result of patients not having the medication to counter an allergy attack. …

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