Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Mylan Pharmaceuticals has increased the price of a two-pack of EpiPens from $100 in 2008 to $500 today, with some consumers reportedly seeing prices as high as $600. AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File
Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she hopes the recent outcry over the increasing cost of EpiPens will lead Congress to act on stalled bills aimed at reducing prescription drug costs.
The Minnesota Democrat wants a Federal Trade Commission investigation and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into a 400 hundred percent increase in the cost of EpiPens, which allow for self-administered treatment of severe allergic reactions.
Klobuchar is the ranking member of the Antitrust Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
She wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which makes EpiPens, has engaged in activities, such as using incentives or contracts with insurers, distributors, or pharmacies, to deny an alternative product access to the market.
Klobuchar says price increases for that medication and other prescription drugs underscore the need for Congress to act.
“This has gone on too long, these escalating drug prices,” she said Wednesday at a news conference at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.
Klobuchar supports allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices for millions of seniors. She also wants to legalize drug imports from Canada and speed up the timeline for turning brand-name drugs into less expensive generics.
Good morning. We had a technical problem that cropped up last week that prevented us getting the Digest out for a few days, but I am now assured everything should work. So apologies for that, and on to your Wednesday Digest:
1. The city of Minneapolis will appeal a judge’s ruling that a measure requiring businesses in the city to pay a $15 per hour minimum wage be placed on the November ballot. Supporters of the ballot measure on Tuesday celebrated the judge’s ruling and said they would start their campaign to get people to vote for it after Labor Day. Business groups are hoping the appeal succeeds. (MPR News)
2. Walleye fishing on Lake Mille Lacs will end on Sept. 6. Two weeks ago Gov. Dayton said he would not close catch-and-release fishing even though state anglers had exceeded their take of walleye. Chippewa bands had opposed the governor’s decision to keep the season open, but Dayton said it was necessary to limit the economic impact on area businesses. (Star Tribune)
3. Eighty homes in southern Washington County have been ordered by the state Health Department to use bottled water and switch to a water filtering system because perfluorochemical levels in the well water of those homes now exceeds a new federal health advisory level. The chemicals were used by 3M for years at a plant in Cottage Grove to make products including Scotchgard anti-stain spray. Health officials say the risk is likely low, but they’re not taking chances. (MPR News)
4. The Clinton Foundation would see drastic changes should Hillary Clinton become president, according to the organization’s president. Parts would be spun off or folded into other charitable efforts. Foundation head Donna Shalala insists the reorganization plan has been in the works for some time and is not a reaction to recent criticism of the organization during the presidential campaign. (NPR)
5. Over the past few days Donald Trump has made an appeal to black and Latino voters. This piece says he has a twofold strategy: “He wants to make inroads with minority voters, who polls show overwhelmingly support Clinton. He also believes that a more measured approach on race can convince white voters now shunning him — especially women — that he is not the racist that his inflammatory rhetoric might indicate.” (Washington Post)
Outside a fundraiser for Republican Donald Trumplast week, an Independence Party volunteer gathersed signatures to put Evan McMullin on Minnesota’s ballot. Brian Bakst | MPR News
UPDATED 5:30 p.m. with additional party petitions
A pair of third-party presidential candidates grabbed Tuesday for spots on Minnesota’s ballot in November, with Libertarian Gary Johnson getting word he made it and the Independence Party’s Evan McMullin submitting necessary signatures with little time to spare.
The Libertarian Party said it submitted more than 3,200 signatures to get Johnson, a former New Mexico governor, before voters. The party has received confirmation that Johnson qualified.
Minnesota’s Secretary of State’s office said petitions were also received from candidates aligned with the Constitution Party and the American Delta Party, triggering a process that allows up to 10 days of review prior to certification or rejection.
McMullin’s supporters from the IP filed the candidate’s paperwork just minutes before a deadline for minor-party hopefuls and must still undergo a standard review process. McMullin is a former CIA operative and a U.S. House Republican staff member hoping to block GOP nominee Donald Trump from the presidency.
More than a dozen canvassers fanned out Tuesday around the Twin Cities area for the final push. IP Chairman Philip Fuehrer said the team started the day with 1,770 signatures and was working to get well above the 2,000-signature minimum to provide a cushion.
With the presidential race as Minnesota’s only statewide partisan contest, the IP is hoping McMullin will net at least 5 percent of the vote and make it a national party for the next two elections.
“I came to the realization during caucuses that once every 12 years we, in a lot of ways, become entirely irrelevant, and that’s because the only race is presidential such as this year,” Fuehrer said. “What that ends up doing is that people are focused at the top and anything else is just forgotten.”
Fuehrer said McMullin comes out of the “Tom Horner wing” of the Independence Party, referring to the former Republican who ran as the party’s candidate for governor in 2010. Fuehrer cited McMullin’s message of fiscal restraint and states rights, but said he is more conservative on social issues than the party typically advocates.
There are efforts in the works to bring McMullin to the Minnesota State Fair next week, but nothing has been finalized.
Chris Dock, chairman of the Minnesota Libertarian Party, said there are plans to get Johnson to appear at the fair, too, but the party is awaiting final confirmation from his campaign.
If McMullin and the others with candidate petitions pending also makes the ballot, there would be at nine named choices before voters in November. That includes Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Trump, whose full batch of paperwork still hadn’t been submitted with about a week to go before the major-party deadline.