Congressman Calls Out Valeant’s ‘Lack of Transparency’
Valeant Pharmaceuticals has received yet another letter from Congress, asking again for documents related to how the company prices its drugs and its former relationship to specialty pharmacy Philidor.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) directly addressed CEO Michael Pearson for the requested documents, calling out Valeant for steep price increases of its Isuprel and Nitropress heart medications. This is the third request for documents sent to Pearson by Cummings. The first was sent in August concerning drug prices, and the second was sent in November for information related to Philidor.
“To date, you have provided none of the requested documents or interviews,” wrote Cummings. “Your failure to provide any legitimate justification for this obstruction raises additional, serious concerns about your company’s lack of transparency.”
Cummings requested that Valeant provide the requested documents and interviews to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by Jan. 8. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-CA) agreed to hold a hearing on the issue in the weeks following that date, and the majority plans to invite both Pearson and Turing Pharmaceutical’s CEO Martin Shkreli, according to a Democratic staffer.
Valeant disputes the claims made by Cummings and says it has provided information to the committee.
“We disagree with many of the Congressman’s statements,” said Laurie Little, senior vice president of investor relations at Valeant. “Nevertheless, we will review his letter and respond appropriately.”
Valeant has responded to other inquiries by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). It is also the subject of federal investigations by U.S. Attorney Generals in Massachusetts and New York and has said it would fully cooperate with both.
The letter comes the day after Valeant (VRX) said it had replaced Philidor with a new Walgreen’s distribution partnership, which sent its stock up over 15% on Tuesday as investors regained confidence in the drug maker. Valeant ended its relationship with Philidor in October after reports that the specialty pharmacy was used to book fake sales and pushed more expensive drugs on patients. The drug maker had been looking for a new pharmacy distributor since then, and the Walgreen’s (WAG) agreement assuaged concerns that Valeant wouldn’t be able to find a pharmacy partner quick enough to make up for the nearly 7% of sales previously run through Philidor. The company is holding an investors event today.