Outrage over Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ (NYSE:MYL) price hikes on EpiPens, a potentially life-saving injection device for children with severe allergies, has members of Congress calling for an investigation.
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Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Mylan CEO Heather Bresch demanding an explanation for the price increase while Sen. Amy Klobucha (D-MN) called for an investigation into the company’s trade practices by the Federal Trade Commission.
In an exclusive interview with FOX Business Network’s Countdown to the Closing Bell, Allergy Kids Foundation Founder Robyn O’Brien said Mylan is taking advantage of a growing epidemic of people with food allergies.
“The number of people in the United States with food allergies is skyrocketing. From 1997 until 2010, there was over a quadrupling of the number of people with the peanut allergies. So suddenly we have this epidemic and the price has been kicked up six times in the last six years on a product that was first invented in 1977,” O’Brien said.
The EpiPen auto injector has seen its price rise from $57 when Mylan acquired the allergy shot in 2007 to upwards of $700 in the U.S. today. Mylan EpiPen profits reached $1.2B in 2015 and EpiPen accounts for 40% of the company’s profits.
O’Brien, known as the Erin Brockovich of food has been fighting against the EpiPen price increase for at least a year and describes Mylan’s actions as “abusive,” leaving parents unable to afford a life-saving device for their children.
“To have parents suddenly reaching out saying, you know what Robin, I can’t afford the EpiPen anymore. To have school nurses reaching out and say, Robin you gotta help us we have these non-compliance kids in the classroom whose parents can’t afford the EpiPen, lives are at risk,” O’Brien told host Liz Claman.
When asked what she would say to Bresch, O’Brien said, “I would say, you’ve built your business model on the backs of American children and it’s time to take ownership for that.”