Mylan Pharmaceuticals overcharged Medicaid for its EpiPen device for years, even though the company had been told it should have provided bigger rebates, a federal agency said on Wednesday.
From 2011 to 2015, Medicaid paid $797 million on EpiPen, after rebates. But the federal and state health care program for the poor should have spent less because Mylan Pharmaceuticals did not pay the appropriate rebates, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In all, Medicaid spent more than $960 million on the emergency allergy device. This did not reflect a 13 percent rebate the company paid. However, as Acting CMS administrator Andy Slavitt noted, Mylan should have been paying a higher rebate of 23 percent, but did not do so because the company improperly classified EpiPen, despite being told its classification was incorrect.
Why is this continuing saga re Big Pharma still shocking in such an Orwellian manner?
This is the inevitable result ever since Big Pharma worked its congressional constituency to require FDA in 1997 to remove all controls on its consumer advertising that created push/demand advertising for its products to non-clinical people. Again, in 2002, Big Pharma poured in over $250 Million to ensure Medicare Part D was passed as an open retail spigot for Big Pharma and denied Medicare right to negotiate pricing.
Until the lobbyists are removed from Capital Hill toting their overweight carpet bags of campaign cash for both sides of the aisle, the motto of Big Pharma will continue to be, “greed is dependable.” Mylan was just careless and got caught; note it is not as if they will be penalized, fined, or banned from any federal or state program.
As I have recounted before, ‘the waste and fraud in the Defense Department is nothing compared to what goes on in health care; particularly, how Big Pharma is allowed to manipulate the concept of a free, open marketplace–at the expense of the taxpayer and patient.’
There’s an insight here – “it is a bit convenient that CMS decides after 19 years that Mylan has been wrong all along while it did nothing about it, just in time to suit Congress” – although the math is off. Eleven years is still a good amount of time but then again as was once observed ‘this is a self-regulated industry.’ Hmmm ….
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