Senate panel opens investigation into EpiPen price hikes

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EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company. Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company. Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

WASHINGTON — A Senate panel has opened a preliminary investigation into why the price of lifesaving EpiPens has skyrocketed.

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Homeland’s investigations subcommittee said in a statement Wednesday that they began an inquiry into Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ pricing and competition practices. Mylan has been sharply criticized for its steep price increases for the emergency allergy treatment EpiPen.

The price has grown to $608 for a two-pack, up more than 500 percent since 2007. The drugmaker has announced it will launch a generic version that will cost $300 in the next several weeks.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri head the panel.

Heather Bresch, CEO of the pharmaceutical company, is the daughter of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

[Watch Video]

After news broke that the price of EpiPen injectors has skyrocketed, the allergy medicine’s maker, Mylan, announced its intention to offer a generic version of the product, to be sold at half the market price of the original. The New York Times’ Andrew Pollack and the University of Minnesota’s Stephen Schondelmeyer talk with Gwen Ifill about the role public outcry played in the company’s decision.

WATCH: Did outcry on social media lead to Mylan’s generic EpiPen?

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