By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday signed a bill to allow businesses across the state to carry epinephrine auto-injectors, but sharply admonished drugmaker Mylan NL over its recent price increases.
Mylan has been widely criticized, including by U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, for raising the price of EpiPens, which are carried by people with life-threatening allergies.
The company, which acquired the product in 2007, recently raised the list price for a pair of EpiPen auto-injectors to $600. The price has been rising from a cost of about $100 in 2008. A probe into EpiPen pricing by a U.S. Senate subcommittee was announced on Sept. 7.
Brown's decision on Friday highlights the predicament facing allergy advocates, who strongly support epinephrine access legislation but have criticized Mylan's pricing.
Over two dozen U.S. states have passed laws similar to California's authorizing businesses to stock epinephrine, according to advocacy group Food Allergy Research & Education.
Brown said he was signing the bill because EpiPens save lives, but that he strongly objected to Mylan's pricing.
"State government cannot stop unconscionable price increases, but it can shed light on such rapacious corporate behavior," Brown said in a statement.
A Mylan representative could not immediately be reached for comment.
EpiPen, which has annual sales of about $1 billion, delivers a potentially life-saving dose of epinephrine by injection into the thigh to counter dangerous allergic reactions, including to peanuts and bee stings. Mylan owns 94 percent of the market for such auto-injected devices.
In response to the furor over pricing, Mylan last month said it would sell its own generic version of EpiPen for $300.
(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Alan Crosby)