New York Attorney General Investigates EpiPen Manufacturer

ALBANY (AP) -

The New York attorney general’s office is investigating whether Mylan Pharmaceuticals unfairly limited competition for its emergency allergy treatment EpiPen, which has been criticized for steep price increases.

A preliminary review showed the company “may have inserted potentially anticompetitive terms” into sales contracts with many school systems, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday. Subpoenas for company information were issued last week.

“If Mylan engaged in anti-competitive business practices, or violated antitrust laws with the intent and effect of limiting lower cost competition, we will hold them accountable,” Schneiderman said. “Allergy sufferers have enough concerns to worry about. The availability of life-saving medical treatment should not be one of them.”

EpiPens are used in emergencies to treat severe allergic reactions to insect bites and foods like nuts that can lead to anaphylactic shock. They are auto-injectors, or spring-loaded syringes that provide a single dose of the drug epinephrine, and can be administered by patients themselves.

The price has grown to $608 for a two-pack, up more than 500 percent since 2007. The drugmaker has announced it will launch a generic version in the next several weeks that will cost $300.

Meanwhile, a New York legislator introduced a bill to authorize pharmacists to dispense little-known and cheaper generic versions under a brand-specific prescription without having to get a new prescription.