WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar released the following statement today on Pfizer’s 2600% price hike on its anti-epilepsy drug in the United Kingdom:
“This proves yet again that pharmaceutical companies are misleading regulators around the world,” said Klobuchar. “In the United States, Mylan Pharmaceuticals announced that it reached an agreement with the Department of Justice regarding a misclassification of the EpiPen through the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, which cost states and the federal government millions, maybe more. In the United Kingdom, Pfizer – a U.S. company – classified its anti-epilepsy drug as a generic to overcharge the government there. We need to crackdown on these practices that drive down competition and drive up costs for consumers worldwide.”
Klobuchar has been a national leader in the effort to bring down the costs of prescription drugs. In November, Klobuchar called on Mylan to reimburse the Department of Defense (DoD) for past overpayments for the EpiPen Auto-Injector. Mylan’s misclassification of the EpiPen as a “non-innovator multiple source drug” led the DoD to pay exorbitant rates for the drug at retail pharmacies. Klobuchar has also called on the Department of Justice to consider investigating whether Mylan Pharmaceuticals violated the law when it apparently misclassified its EpiPen product in order to pay a lower rebate to states and reap huge profits at the expense of taxpayers. She has also called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to answer questions about its approval process and other steps for alternatives to the EpiPen.
In August, Klobuchar wrote to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to call on the agency to provide information on the effect of Mylan’s price increases on government prescription drug costs, asking specifically why EpiPen was classified as a generic drug under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. Following these efforts, CMS found that Mylan had misclassified the EpiPen as a “non-innovator multiple source drug,” or generic drug, resulting in overpayment for the drug by states and the federal government through the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. Klobuchar has also urged the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a nationwide investigation to see how many other drugs are also misclassified.