Authored By: Iris Garrett
Mylan Pharmaceuticals is making news again, this time for allegedly overcharging U.S. taxpayers by as much as $1.27 billion over the last decade. According to Bloomberg, a U.S. government report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Attorney General shows that the funds are linked to Mylan purposely classifying its EpiPen® shot as a generic drug to avoid giving discounts to men and women using the Medicaid program.
Bloomberg says under Medicaid, drug makers must offer deep discounts on products if they are classified as brand-name. Though Mylan has launched a generic version of the EpiPen® since it acquired the rights to sell it back in 2007, the original life-saving medication is a brand-name product. Because of Mylan’s misclassification, it was forced to pay $465 million in a settlement with the U.S. last October. Only now, some lawmakers are saying the settlement was not enough.
Bloomberg says Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who was behind the release of the health department’s report on Mylan, has been pushing for both the drug maker and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to find out more about how the EpiPen® was misclassified in the first place. He says documents show CMS informing the pharmaceutical company of the issue, but not of Mylan correcting it. He says it is now Congress’s job to intervene: “As part of bringing down drug costs, we have to make sure companies that take part in federal health care programs aren’t gaming the system… to ensure that taxpayers don’t overpay for EpiPens® or any other drugs in public health-care programs” (Bloomberg).
Photo Credit: Amy Kerkemeyer