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Exterior of Mylan drug manufacturing plant on August 30, 2016 in Morgantown, WV.

A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of EpiPen users accuses the company Mylan of racketeering in their dramatic price increases of the life-saving drug over the last decade.

The litigation, filed today, alleges organized criminality under the terms of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal law that was originally passed in 1970 to prosecute the Mafia.

The lawsuit argues that the 17 price increases that Mylan imposed since acquiring the EpiPen in 2007 – an overall markup from $90.28 to $608.62, amounts to a “behind-the-scenes quid pro quo arrangement” that was designed to increase profits at the expense of patients.

“Despite the fiction that Mylan has tried to sell the public, and sell Congress, the numbers don’t lie,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of the Seattle-based Hagens Berman law firm that filed the lawsuit. “Mylan has been the motivating force behind the jaw-dropping 574 percent EpiPen price hike… We say, let’s put it all on the table and let the courts decide. Mylan’s victims deserve their day in court.”

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington today.

The attorney from Hagens Berman are seeking clients to join the class-action lawsuit.

Under the litigation, the three named plaintiffs accuse Mylan of being the “ringleader” working with the three biggest pharmacy benefit manufacturers to keep prices high. That scheme essentially shut out other competition, including two other auto-injectors.

Mylan did not immediately return request for comment about the RICO suit, or its accusations.

The company announced it was offering a generic version of the EpiPen in December, for half the price. The offering was “decisive action,” said Heather Bresch, the CEO, in a statement, in which she blamed the “system” for the price hikes.

“Americans are rightfully concerned about rising drug prices,” Bresch said. “This is why we took decisive action with our EpiPen product and have launched the first generic version at half the WAC price,” she said at the time.

Bresch testified before a House of Representatives subcommittee in September 2016. She told Congress members that the company’s profit was $100 for a pair of EpiPens – a claim later proven false.

The next month, Mylan settled one part of the controversy with federal authorities for $465 million. The EpiPen, an auto-injector of epinephrine used for anaphylaxis, had been incorrectly classified as a generic product under Medicaid since 1997, as was revealed by regulators.

Drugmakers are required to pay Medicaid rebates of 13 percent for generic products – and a higher 23.1 percent for brand-name drugs. The EpiPen was far more lucrative under the incorrect classification, according to federal health authorities.

RICO was originally aimed at the then-nationwide Italian Mafia. Since then it has been used to prosecute groups allegedly committing compounded, organized crimes: the Hell’s Angels, the Latin Kings, pro-life abortion protesters, and even Major League Baseball.

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