A new class action out of California against Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Mylan Specialty L.P. claims the companies illegally inflated the cost of its flagship EpiPen medication by more than 500 percent since 2007, putting millions of consumers with severe allergy problems who may not be able to afford the excessively priced device at risk. The EpiPen, a lifesaving auto-injector medication used to treat those with severe allergies at risk of anaphylaxis, reportedly costs the defendants merely $34.50 to produce, the lawsuit claims, yet the companies charge consumers $600 or more for a two-pack. Some insurance plans, the plaintiffs say, do not cover the price of the EpiPen, meaning the cost of the life-saving medication could put a significant strain on consumers who often need to cover a large chunk of the $600 price on their own.
The 35-page complaint alleges that after the defendants became the exclusive manufacturers of the EpiPen through a 2007 acquisition deal with Merck, it engaged in a scheme to use its dominant position in the auto-injector medication market to unreasonably raise prices. “As a result of this drastic price increase,” the suit argues, “many patients have been unable to afford their EpiPens and have simply stopped buying them, despite their continued need to have a prescription treatment available in an emergency.”