WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The maker of EpiPens will not testify in front of a Senate judiciary committee about the settlement it reached with the U.S. Justice Department because officials from the agency also declined to appear at the hearing.
Lawyers for Mylan, which makes the emergency allergy shot, informed committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley in a letter that representatives would not answer questions about the $465 million settlement the company agreed to with Justice officials for overcharging Medicaid for the medicine.
The letter, dated last Friday, was released Monday by the senator's office. The main explanation for their not showing up is that officials from the Justice Department, as well as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will not be answering questions.
"The Obama Administration is dodging accountability for an expensive problem, and now a company is following its bad example," Grassley said in a statement. "Taxpayers have paid and [reportedly] continue to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for the EpiPen than they have to pay. This happened because either the agencies in charge dropped the ball, the company gamed the system or both."
Grassley called the hearing after CMS reported Mylan had been overcharging agencies for EpiPens, following revelations that the company had been arbitrarily jacking up the price of the medicine for years -- charging insurance companies, CMS and consumers themselves more money for a product that has remained the same for decades.
On Oct. 7, Mylan and the Justice Department announced they'd reached a settlement, agreeing the company would pay $465 million to the government for overcharging the agencies for so long.
Several members of the Senate have criticized the deal as a cop-out and not good enough considering how much money the company and executives made while consumers who need to medication were continuously charged more and more for years.
While the Senate committee has subpoena powers, a spokesperson for the committee said it is rare for subpoenas to be issued and she was unsure whether or not the hearing would be rescheduled.