Clinton ad lambastes Valeant for 'predatory' pricing
- A new TV advertisement from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign attacks the troubled drugmaker Valeant for its "predatory pricing." In the ad, Clinton is shown reading a letter from a supporter whose medication from Valeant had skyrocketed in price.
- Clinton describes how the cost of the supporter's medication, an injectable migraine treatment, had increased in price to over $14,700 per 10 vials from $180 for the same amount in the 1980s.
- Already besieged by investor concerns over a recently announced SEC investigation, Valeant has been heavily criticized over the past year for its pricing strategies. Its stock has slumped to near a three-year low.
Valeant CEO Michael Pearson has had a rough return from medical leave. After announcing resumption of his duties on Sunday night, news broke Monday that the SEC is investigating the company. The new investigation reportedly stems from Valeant's relationship with the defunct mail-order pharmacy Philidor, according to a report from Reuters.
Clinton has remarked on high drug prices before but the new ad intensifies her attack on the company. In the ad, Clinton says "I'm going after [Valeant]. This is predatory pricing and we're going to make sure it is stopped." After winning primaries in seven states on Super Tuesday, Clinton is eyeing upcoming votes in Nebraska, Kansas, and Michigan. The Valeant ad will air in all three states, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Valeant fired back after the ad was released, issuing a statement saying it had reached out to the patient to offer assistance. According to the company, the patient's insurance covers the drug, D.H.E. 45, and her out-of-pocket costs are not significant.
"[D.H.E. 45] was acquired in 2005, and a generic version of D.H.E. 45 has been available since 2003. Due to that competition, Valeant’s share of the overall market for D.H.E. 45 has declined significantly. In fact, we now have less than 1% percent of the market for this drug," the company further explained.
Following intense Congressional scrutiny, Valeant has pledged to focus more on driving revenues through volume rather than by price increase. However, as branded sales volumes decline for older drugs, companies like Valeant may feel price adjustments are needed to keep the drug "viable."