NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Mylan (MYL) - Get Report were falling in early-afternoon trading on Tuesday as the Canonsburg, PA-based pharmaceutical company continues to face public criticism over its high EpiPen prices.
Citigroup analysts say the heightened scrutiny won't hurt Mylan's earnings, but it could "weigh on the stock's multiple" in the near term.
Drug pricing has become a central issue ahead of the upcoming election cycle, in part due to the controversy surrounding Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX), which involves claims that it defrauded investors.
Now that investors have turned their attention to drug pricing, it could result in added pressure to Mylan's stock, the firm said, according to Barron's.
Mylan isn't likely to face regulatory action, Citigroup noted, but persistent criticism, particularly in the form of a Senate Judiciary Committee review, could result in "self-regulation" of pricing increases on the EpiPen.
"Access and affordability remains the key issue for all therapeutic stocks over the medium term, in our view, with increasing focus on innovation in order to justify premium pricing," Citigroup continued in an analyst note, according to Barron's. "This has constituted part of our more cautious stance on the specialty pharmaceuticals space over the past 12 months, given the higher risk inherent in some of these companies to drug pricing headlines."
The price of Mylan's portable allergic reaction inhibitor has increased to about $500 from around $100 in 2008, an increase of approximately 450%.
Wall Street currently models annual declines in the EpiPen franchise from 2018, likely based on the introduction of a generic EpiPen in that time frame, Citigroup said.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:
We rate MYLAN NV as a Buy with a ratings score of B. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: MYL