Valeant increased prices too aggressively, CEO expected to tell Senate panel
- Valeant was too aggressive in raising prices on certain drugs, outgoing CEO Michael Pearson will tell a Senate committee Wednesday, according to prepared testimony obtained by Reuters.
- Softening his approach compared to past statements, Pearson reportedly said in the testimony that he regrets pursuing acquisitions where future price increases served as the principal reason for making a deal.
- Pearson, along with Valeant board members Bill Ackman and Howard Schiller, is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Special Committee on Aging Wednesday afternoon.
Both the Senate Aging Committee and House Oversight Committee are investigating drug pricing as part of a series of hearings over the past several months, focusing in particular on Valeant and Martin Shkreli's former company Turing Pharmaceuticals.
But the relationship between Valeant and lawmakers has been testy at times. Pearson had originally refused to be deposed ahead of Wednesday's hearing, only to later agree to do so after Valeant's board requested he cooperate with the Senate Committee.
On the House side, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has accused Valeant of obstructing the House Oversight Committee's investigation, saying the company has failed to provide all documents related to its relationship with the specialty pharmacy Philidor.
For its part, Valeant said it "has cooperated with the full committee's review from the beginning, including providing over 78,000 pages of documents."
Wednesday's hearing is likely to examine Valeant's rationale for buying, and then immediately raising the price of two heart drugs, Isuprel and Nitropress. Valeant acquired the drugs in February 2015 and increased their prices by 525% and 212%, respectively. Pearson specifically singled out that transaction as one Valeant should have abandoned, according to the testimony seen by Reuters.
The hearing will also likely be one of the final public appearances by Pearson as Valeant CEO. Earlier this week the company announced ex-Perrigo chief Joseph Papa would replace Pearson as soon as he arrived from Perrigo.
Papa will face continued scrutiny over drug pricing as well as the immediate challenges of filing a much-delayed annual report and closing out an investigation into shady accounting practices.
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