Pfizer and two subsidiaries — King Pharmaceuticals and Meridian Medical Technologies — are proposing payment of $345 million to settle a number of class-action antitrust suits regarding EpiPen price gouging.
Pfizer manufacturers the epinephrine auto-injector for Mylan, which owns the EpiPen brand name and markets the device. Mylan agreed to a $465 million settlement with the Department of Justice in 2017 for overcharging the government for EpiPen.
In 2007 when Mylan first obtained the rights to manufacture and distribute the device, EpiPens cost about $100. The company has continuously raised the price to over $650 for a two-pack today.
In a statement made to Kansas City NPR station KCUR-FM, a spokesperson for Pfizer said the company “denies any wrongdoing and continues to believe its actions were appropriate.”
“This resolution reflects a desire by the Company to avoid the distraction of continued litigation and focus on breakthroughs that change patients’ lives,” the spokesperson said.
Most claims against Mylan were dismissed by US District Judge Daniel Crabtree last month, but he allowed other antitrust litigation to move forward to trial, set for September 7.
Back in 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a letter to Meridian, warning of numerous violations at its Brentwood, MO plant where it manufactures the EpiPen line for Mylan.
The letter asserted that Meridian did not perform adequate due diligence when it learned of problems related to EpiPen’s mechanism responsible for injecting and delivering the proper dose of epinephrine.
Problems at Meridian led to worldwide shortages of EpiPen and Adrenaclick epinephrine auto-injectors that lasted for several years beginning in 2018.