HEALTH

Lawmakers lash out at Mylan over EpiPen profit revision

Lawmakers on Monday lashed out at the drug maker Mylan after a fresh disclosure that the company’s chief executive may have misrepresented the profits it earns on sales of EpiPens.

According to a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress, the $50 profit per pen that Heather Bresch cited at last Wednesday’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing included an estimated tax rate of 37.5 percent.

Tax experts have said that Mylan is actually paying much less in taxes. Excluding taxes, EpiPen’s profits per two-pack are close to $170.

This left lawmakers shaking their heads.

“We didn’t believe Mylan’s numbers last week during their CEO’s testimony, and we don’t believe them this week either,” Representative Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House committee, said in a statement to STAT.

Mylan said in a statement that it is standard to use the 37.5 percent statutory tax rate when looking at the United States.

Read more: Anger at EpiPen prices channeled at Mylan CEO in congressional hearing

“Just as we did not use a blended global tax rate, we also did not allocate corporate expenses associated with running the business, which would have further reduced its profitability,” a Mylan spokesperson said. “We believe it is most appropriate, and conservative, to focus entirely on EpiPen Auto-Injector specific costs and associated taxes.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who has been helping lead the charge from the Senate side, said in a statement to STAT that this doesn’t look good for the company.

“Mylan continues to evade honesty about the costs associated with the EpiPen,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “Today’s revelation illustrates the need for further investigations.”

At the hearing, Bresch called for more transparency about the EpiPen’s price. The oft-quoted $608 per two-pack is the price that Mylan charges wholesalers for the devices. Pharmacies buy them from wholesalers and then sell them to patients.

“Transparency of the $608 down is needed across the board,” Bresch said at the hearing.

Despite Mylan’s efforts, members of Congress aren’t buying it.

“Even after the CEO of Mylan told me under oath that Mylan’s profit per EpiPen is $50, we still don’t know if the information she provided is correct, and that’s a real problem,” Representative Buddy Carter, another member of the House committee, said in a statement to STAT.

Bresch agreed to provide more information about who pays what to whom in the EpiPen supply chain within 10 days from last Wednesday’s hearing.