Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is hoping the state’s attorney general can help him get to the bottom of how much the maker of EpiPens overcharged taxpayers.
In a letter dated last Friday, Grassley asked Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller for documents and records related to a recent $1.5 million settlement the state had with Mylan, the Pennsylvania-based drugmaker.
In summer 2016, Mylan gained national attention for the skyrocketing costs of EpiPens, which provide lifesaving allergy injections.
It later was concluded that the drugs were misclassified under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program — a program aimed at offsetting federal and state costs of prescription drugs — which meant that Iowa and other states likely overpaid for EpiPens.
Minnesota estimated that the misclassification may have cost that state more than $4 million in a single year.
Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has lead the investigation into the drug’s high costs — which at one point hit more than $600 for a two pack of the injectors — and what it means for taxpayers. Schools are required to have EpiPens on hand while more than 40 percent of children nationally are insured through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.
In September, Iowa signed onto a $465 million joint federal-multistate settlement with Mylan to resolve allegations that the drugmaker knowingly overcharged states’ Medicaid programs. Iowa’s share of the settlement was $1.5 million.
How Mylan came to that number is precisely what Grassley wants to know.
Grassley is asking Miller’s office to provide records from the settlement and information as to how Miller determined that $1.5 million is an adequate settlement.
“The cost of EpiPens hit home for a lot of Iowans, which is why I have written you on several occasions out of concern that Iowa be made whole from the settlement,” Grassley wrote.
Grassley has written Miller on multiple occasions throughout the events regarding the price of EpiPens.
That includes a July letter in which he asked Miller what kind of financial compensation would be needed to make Iowa whole from EpiPen’s misclassification. Miller was unable to provide any solid figures because pricing information is confidential under federal law.
Grassley’s latest letter noted the settlement packet sent to Iowa should include the proposed agreement, a preliminary distribution of proceeds from the settlement for each state, and confidential information to explain how the settlement amount was calculated.
“In light of that, it would be helpful to the committee’s investigation to review the documentation your office has been provided,” Grassley wrote.
Miller’s office received the letter on Monday and said it is reviewing it and will then respond to the inquiry. Grassley has asked for a response by Nov. 10.