The EpiPen was a perfect symbol of the current state of pharmaceutical companies and health care expenses: It was a life-saving drug that had been around for decades, often used by children, and with a price that kept rising. The controversy over the epinephrine injectors led to news stories, a Congressional hearing, a $465 million settlement for overcharging Medicaid, and investigations by the states of New York and West Virginia.
The EpiPen benefited from brand recognition and programs where the company gave away pens, but Mylan was still charging as much as $600 for an auto-injector that hasn’t changed significantly in decades and contains less than $1 worth of the drug epinephrine. Now the Federal Trade Commission is looking into Mylan’s practices around marketing the EpiPen to determine whether the drugmaker acted in an anti-competitive way.
Bloomberg News reports that Mylan has received a request for information from the FTC. Possible violations of antitrust laws for the EpiPen could include changing the devices in small ways to avoid having the patent expire or making deals with other drugmakers to keep competing products off the market.
“Any suggestion that Mylan took any inappropriate or unlawful actions to prevent generic competition is without merit,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to Bloomberg.
The investigation is brand-new, and the FTC may conclude that Mylan didn’t break any laws, and its dominance in the market is due to its marketing efforts that have made customers familiar with the product.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.