Mylan faces legal trouble over EpiPen price hikes

Mylan Pharmaceuticals (MYL) is drawing more fire over the company’s pricing of its EpiPen, with New York state’s top legal official saying his office is investigating whether the drugmaker broke antitrust laws. 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday that a preliminary analysis by his office found that Mylan may have included terms in sales contracts with local schools for the anti-allergy drug that ultimately harmed competition. 

“No child’s life should be put at risk because a parent, school or health care provider cannot afford a simple, life-saving device because of a drugmaker’s anti-competitive practices,” Schneiderman said in a statement. 

“Allergy sufferers have enough concerns to worry about -- the availability of life-saving medical treatment should not be one of them,” he added.

The EpiPen is the most popular epinephrine autoinjector, which is used to treat people who suffer a severe allergic reaction, on the market. Mylan has faced growing scrutiny for jacking up the price of the product more than 400 percent since 2009, with lawmakers, consumer advocates and other critics accusing the company of gouging vulnerable patients. 

Mylan has sought to stem that criticism by saying it will sell a generic version of the EpiPen, charging $300 for a two-pack of the injectable medication rather than the list price of more than $600. The company has also moved to discount the product for some users. 

EpiPen, which Mylan bought from Merck (MRK) in 2007, generates roughly $1 billion a year in revenue for its maker.     

Mylan says more than 700,000 free EpiPens have been distributed to more than 65,000 schools. The company also said it has dropped a previous purchase requirement for schools that wanted to buy more EpiPens at a discount. 

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