Blumenthal calls for EpiPen antitrust probe

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal holds an EpiPen two-pak box during a recent press conference in Hartford.

Kyle Constable /

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal holds an EpiPen two-pak box during a recent press conference in Hartford.

Washington – Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether EpiPen manufacturer Mylan broke antitrust laws when it gave away or sold  its product at discounted prices to schools.

Joined by fellow Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Blumenthal wrote the FTC about a document that seemed to show that Mylan required schools participating in its “EpiPen4Schools” discount program to sign exclusive contracts stipulating they would “not in the next twelve (12) months purchase any products that are competitive to EpiPen(R) Auto-Injectors.” The EpiPen delivers a drug that counters the effects of potentially fatal allergic reactions.

“We believe this kind of exclusionary conduct may violate Section 5 of the FTC Act, which bans unfair methods of competition, or Section 2 of the Sherman Act, which prohibits attempts to acquire or maintain a monopoly,” the senators wrote.

Blumenthal and Klobuchar also urged the FTC to issue Mylan a subpoena for information that would determine whether the company “deliberately engaged in exclusionary practices to hinder its competitors and maintain its monopoly position in the market.”

Mylan did not have an immediate response to the senators’ letter.

Connecticut is one of 11 states that have passed laws to require primary and secondary schools to stock EpiPens, which have skyrocketed in price.

Mylan’s EpiPen4Schools program provides schools with two twin packs of their products for free and others at discounted prices.

As Congress reconvenes this week after a seven-week summer break, lawmakers are expected to schedule hearings on the EpiPen price hikes.

Blumenthal, Klobuchar and other senators also have asked the Food and Drug Administration to answer questions about a holdup in its approval process for alternatives to the EpiPen.