Klobuchar says drug price increase should spur action

For pharmaceutical company Mylan, which hiked the price of life-saving EpiPens by 400 percent since it bought the product in 2007, Shkreli's is just one of the voices in a chorus of scorn now facing the company. And six years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration ruled that the devices have to be sold in packs of two because some children need more than one at a time to fight an allergy attack.

Drugmakers are increasingly being called to task by lawmakers and consumers for routinely hiking drug prices, especially after acquiring the products.

Also speaking was 12-year-old Grace Heinze (HEIN'-zee), who has a severe peanut allergy.

As seen earlier this month, when CVS Health booted mainstay diabetes and cancer drugs from its formulary, payers and pharmacy benefit managers are no longer willing to absorb price increases from drug manufacturers just because patients have no other option.

This story has been corrected to show the news conference was Wednesday, not Monday.

Clinton also criticized Turing Pharmaceuticals when public ire rose after it chose to raise the price of an antiviral medication commonly used by AIDS patients and pregnant women to $750 from $13.50 a tablet. In 2007, the wholesale price for an EpiPen in the USA was around $57 and our insurance company paid everything but the co-pay. "EpiPens can be the difference between life and death", tweeted Clinton. He said that while he realizes that research and development of innovative drugs and medical technology cost billions of dollars, "it must be balanced with the need to ensure patient access to life-saving technology".

Underlying reasons for the price increase - and for high drug prices in the US generally - may be found in a study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"I am all the more outraged by Mylan's price gouging practices because they are exploiting the 2013 law as well as their monopoly position", Blumenthal said.

Complicating the politics here, as many in the national press have been discovering today, is the fact that Mylan's CEO, Heather Bresch, is the daughter of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat. "It's wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them".

There is no generic equivalent for the EpiPen, and those with high-deductible insurance plans are paying more out of pocket to cover the high costs. That tax "inversion" drew the ire of President Obama, who criticized Mylan and other companies as unpatriotic.

It's the latest in a string of controversies over rising drug prices that have caught the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

A Mylan statement Tuesday cited health insurance changes with higher deductible costs for many.

EpiPen is a lifesaving treatment for millions whose allergies can send them into severe shock, including many schoolchildren who are advised to keep an injector handy at all times. In Canada, EpiPen's still cost around US$100.

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