EpiPen gouged taxpayers $1.2 billion: HHS report

EpiPen photo

It you’ve ever needed to use the EpiPen rescue device, you’ll probably say it’s priceless. Maybe so, but a government report says manufacturer Mylan NV overcharged the Medicaid program more than $1.2 billion by classifying the device as a generic rather than a brand-name product. That’s because brand-name products are deeply discounted when sold to Medicaid but generics aren’t.

The revelation isn’t exactly a surprise. Mylan has been under fire for frequent price increases that have driven the cost of the EpiPen north of $600 for some users and the Medicaid charges have been under investigation for several months. But Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) says the size of the Medicaid overpayment is a big concern.

“The fact that the EpiPen overpayment is so much more than anyone discussed publicly should worry every taxpayer,” Grassley said in a statement. “Mylan and the Obama Administration reportedly were close to settling the overpayment for much less than $1.27 billion. CMS recently provided records to the Committee that show Mylan was made aware of the misclassification years ago but did nothing.”

Grassley charged that “Mylan overcharged the taxpayers for years with the knowledge EpiPen was misclassified, and the previous administration was willing to let the company off the hook.” He says the government needs to do a better job of policing companies.

“The government needs to do a much a better job of holding companies to their commitments in federal health care programs. It appears the Obama Administration failed to use all available tools to hold Mylan accountable. The taxpayers deserve more from their government and don’t need to give anyone a blank check. I’ll continue to push for accuracy under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and for Mylan to produce the requested records to the Committee. Taxpayers have a right to know what happened here and to be repaid whatever they are owed,” Grassley said.

A Mylan spokeswoman said the company would “continue to work with the government to finalize the settlement as soon as possible.”

About the Author

Truman Lewis
Truman has been a bureau chief and correspondent in D.C., Los Angeles, Phoenix and elsewhere, reporting for radio, television, print and news services, for more than 30 years.