A new proposed class action lawsuit filed in Tacoma, Washington, claims that Mylan engaged in a scheme with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to dominate the epinephrine auto-injector market and overcharge consumers for its EpiPen, according to a Reuters report. The cost of the allergy treatment ballooned to more than $600 for a two-pack of the device from less than $100 in 2007.
Although Mylan has been slapped with other EpiPen-related lawsuits, this is the first one to focus on the role of PBMs and to bring claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal law historically used against organized crime. The suit was filed by three EpiPen purchasers.
When asked about the suit by Reuters, a Mylan spokesperson declined to comment.
The plaintiffs say Mylan paid large rebates to PBMs so they would favor the EpiPen over competitors. In helping Mylan control 95% of the epinephrine auto-injector market, the rebates artificially inflated the EpiPen’s sticker price, resulting in higher costs for many patients, the suit said.
The lawsuit also claims that the three largest PBMs in the U.S.––CVS Caremark, part of CVS Health; Express Scripts Holding Co.; and OptumRX, part of UnitedHealth Group Inc.––participated in Mylan’s alleged scheme. They were not named as defendants.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages to represent a nationwide class of EpiPen purchasers.
Source: Reuters; April 3, 2017.