(Adds background on Mylan)
By Brendan Pierson
Sept 6 An Ohio woman on Tuesday filed a proposed
class action lawsuit against Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc
in an Ohio county court, claiming sharp price hikes for the
company's EpiPen device violated the state's consumer protection
Mylan has raised the U.S. price of EpiPen, which is used to
treat life-threatening allergies, from less than $100 when it
acquired the product in 2007 to more than $600, drawing
criticism from parents, consumer groups and U.S. politicians.
EpiPens automatically inject a dose of the drug epinephrine
into the thigh to counter dangerous reactions to allergens such
as peanuts, foods and bee stings. It has a 94 percent share of
the market for such auto-injector devices.
A Mylan spokeswoman, Nina Devlin, had no immediate comment.
The company has defended EpiPen's high price, saying it
spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the product. It
has also said it recoups less than half the list price for
Tuesday's lawsuit was filed in the Court of Common Pleas for
Hamilton County, Ohio, by Cincinnati resident Linda Bates, whose
son requires an EpiPen.
"The outrageous, unconscionable and immoral high prices set
by Defendant is nothing more than price gouging," the complaint
It says the price increases violated the Ohio Consumer Sales
Practices Act, which prohibits "unconscionable" acts in
connection with consumer transactions, including taking
advantage of a consumer's "physical infirmities."
Bates is seeking to represent a class of individuals in Ohio
who purchased EpiPens from 2007 the present, which will require
her to show that a class action is the most fair way to resolve
In response to pressure from U.S. lawmakers, Mylan said last
month that it would expand discount programs and launch a
generic version of EpiPen for $300.
Nonetheless, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Amy
Klobuchar, both Democrats, on Tuesday called on the U.S. Federal
Trade Commission to issue a subpoena to Mylan about EpiPen's
The same day, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
announced he was launching his own investigation of whether
Mylan violated antitrust laws in its contracts to provide
EpiPens to some school systems.
The company is also facing a separate proposed class action
lawsuit accusing it of gouging consumers by selling EpiPens only
in packs of two. It was filed in late August in federal court in
(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Alexia
Garamfalvi and Dan Grebler)