WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley today asked the maker of epinephrine injector Auvi-Q to explain its pricing, including which entities in the health care system will pay the cited price of $4,500 for a two-pack when consumers without insurance will pay $360 for the product.  Grassley said the pricing of Auvi-Q “appears to draw parallels with concern about EpiPen’s pricing structure.”

“Kaléo has offered various patient support programs in an effort to ensure that some patients pay effectively nothing for the Auvi-Q,” Grassley wrote to Spencer Williamson, president and chief executive officer of Kaléo Pharmaceuticals.  “However, your pricing structure may simply shift the burden and cost to another entity within the health care system. With respect to your choice of price, a number of insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers do not support the strategy and have stated they will not be adding the Auvi-Q to their list of covered medications.”

Grassley asked a series of questions to understand the pricing decision-making, including whether patient access and research and development costs were factors in the $4,500 price; whether any entity in the health care system will have to pay $4,500 and if so, which entity; and for an explanation of how the pricing structure will result in reduced prices to the consumer.

Grassley began looking at EpiPen’s pricing last year after Iowans raised concern to him about high prices for the product.  The EpiPen maker, Mylan, gave an incomplete response to his inquiry.  Grassley continues to the press the federal government on the misclassification of EpiPen under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, which resulted in overcharges of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to states and taxpayers.  President Trump’s nominee to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services pledged to produce records on the misclassification.  Grassley requested those records from the Obama Administration, which claimed it took action on the problem, to no avail.   

Grassley’s letter to Kaléo Pharmaceuticals is available here.