Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown slams ‘rapacious’ EpiPen maker ... and signs bill it pushed

Gov. Jerry Brown took the unusual step of castigating a specific pharmaceutical company as he signed legislation Friday allowing more businesses and colleges to stock epinephrine auto-injectors, better known as EpiPens.

Assembly Bill 1386 was brought to legislators by Mylan, the EpiPen maker that has faced public criticism over the rising price of the life-saving devices. Brown said in a signing message that he was endorsing the legislation because the devices “have the potential to save the life of a person suffering a severe allergic reaction,” but he upbraided Mylan for “pricing maneuvers” that have seen the price of EpiPens explode by 500 percent as its CEO’s salary rose.

“State government cannot stop unconscionable price increases but it can shed light on such rapacious corporate behavior,” Brown wrote.

Executives from the company will be questioned about those increases during a House Oversight Committee scheduled for next week.

Accompanying Brown’s signing message was a letter to Congress urging federal lawmakers to “take quick and decisive steps to rein in this kind of predatory pricing, which inflates the costs of health care and too often prevents patients from getting the medications they need.”

“Mylan’s arbitrary manner of pricing and their utter lack of transparency put those in need of the drug at a terrible disadvantage,” Brown wrote.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert