September 21, 2016

Balderas wants answers from EpiPen maker

Greg Friese


Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Wednesday that his office sent an investigatory letter to the makers of EpiPens.


Greg Friese


The devices, which inject synthetic adrenaline through the brand-name injector to those suffering severe allergic reactions, have been in the news recently after public outcry about a massive increase in costs in recent years. The prices for the devices increased 550 percent in just under a decade.

The Attorney General’s office wants Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPens, to provide his office information on EpiPens in New Mexico. Balderas is requesting how many such devices were sold in New Mexico in the last five years, how many schools take part in the controversial “EpiPen4Schools” program, the number of EpiPen prescriptions paid for by Medicaid in New Mexico, copies of all advertising for EpiPens in New Mexico and more information on EpiPens sold by Mylan in New Mexico.

The letter came from P. Cholla Khoury, the director of Consumer and Environmental Protection in the Attorney General’s office.

The letter came just a day after the revelation that the main booster of the EpiPen4Schools program was Gayle Manchin—Bresch’s mother and the wife of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin. Gayle Manchin is the former president of the National Association of State Boards of Education.

“Protecting New Mexico children and families is my top priority,” Balderas said. “I have initiated this investigation to make sure that we are holding out of state corporations and giant drug companies accountable to New Mexico laws, and that we are doing everything in our power to make sure New Mexico children and families can afford their life-saving medications.”

Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan, appeared in front of Congress Wednesday to defend the price hike.

The EpiPen4Sschools program became law in 2013 when President Barack Obama signed the legislation.

The New York Attorney General is now investigating the program and Mylan for potential antitrust violations.

Balderas said this is not yet a formal investigation.