Medicare Part D spending on EpiPens jumped more than 1,100% in 7 years

Medicare Part D spending on EpiPens increased 1,151 percent over a seven-year period, even as the number beneficiaries using the anaphylaxis treatment increased just 164 percent.

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation coincides with a Congressional hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in which Mylan CEO Heather Bresch will answer questions from lawmakers about EpiPen’s 550 percent price increase over the last nine years.

The KFF report indicates that Part D spending per EpiPen prescription was almost five times as much in 2014 as it was in 2007, jumping from $71 per prescription to $344. Data shows that EpiPen spending far surpassed Part D per capita spending. In 2014, Part D spending per EpiPen prescription grew 34 percent, while overall spending rose 8.6 percent.

The report further notes that the most recent Part D spending data is 2014, which doesn’t account for the 74 percent increase in EpiPen’s list prices—from $349 in 2014 to $609 in 2016—that ignited public backlash this year. Although KFF’s analysis did not factor in Part D rebates frequently offered by manufacturers, the authors noted that Mylan may have been less incentivized to offer rebates given the lack of competition. Even accounting for average rebates, Part D spending on EpiPens still increased nearly 1,100 percent.

In her Congressional testimony, obtained by the Associated Press in advance of Wednesday’s hearing, Bresch defended the price hikes, arguing that the company “struck a balance,” but “never intended” to pass higher costs to families.

Backlash against EpiPen’s price hike is the latest criticism in the pharmaceutical industry's ongoing saga of excessive price hikes. West Virginia has launched an investigation into Mylan’s classification of EpiPens within the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, and the company could be facing more state probes on the heels of a report that misclassification potentially triggered millions in overpayments.