State Leaders Tackle Rising Drug Prices

By Spencer Conlin | sconlin@mychamplainvalley.com

Published 08/31 2016 07:17PM

Updated 08/31 2016 07:17PM

State leaders say they’re taking action on the rising drug prices, causing problems for some Vermonters.

Attorney General Bill Sorrell is asking ten drug companies for information to justify its pricing of drugs. One of those companies is the maker of EpiPen, Mylan.

Sorrell’s request comes as part of the state’s law requiring price transparency from prescription drug manufacturers. According to the Green Mountain Care Board, the ten companies increased prices by 15% or even 50% in one year. The higher the drug price, the more it costs Vermont’s Medicaid program.

Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Bernie Sanders have also joined a group of senators in sending a letter to Mylan, questioning the prices.

"We tried to get together a bipartisan coalition of key members and say one, it's totally unjustifiable the expenses you put in there, they're very, very clear, and they knew that letter was coming,” said Leahy.

Some of the other companies include Abilify, Lantus and Humira. The ten drug manufacturers have until October 1st to provide the information to the Attorney General’s Office.

Meanwhile, Senator Leahy is being called out by his opponent Scott Milne. He says the Senator accepted more than $20,000 in campaign donation from Mylan, the same company Leahy is criticizing.

In response Leahy said, "One of the things that gives me a lot of credibility out here is that you can contribute to me, but I am still going to come after you sort of like I did with the Comcast merger, I oppose it and the most important thing is that we can make some changes."

Milne requested that Leahy return the money, but Leahy says he plans not to.

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