Although Valeant Pharmaceuticals promised hospital discounts for its heart drugs three months ago, clinics around the country have yet to see it come to fruition.
During a February hearing, Valeant (VRX) told Congress it planned to cut as much as 30% off the price of heart drugs, Nitropress and Isuprel when hospitals buy 500 units or more of the former, and 20 units or more of the latter.
But even now, top cardiovascular hospitals in the country including the Cleveland Clinic, John Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and New York-Presbyterian say nothing has changed, according to a report from the New York Times.
“Is this just lip service?” Erin Fox, a pharmacist who negotiates prices on behalf of the University of Utah Health Care System to the Times. “Or are we going to have another hearing in six weeks?”
The proposed discounts are also practically “nonexistent,” according to one of the companies, Premier, that negotiates discounts on behalf of hospitals. According to the Times, only two of Premier’s 2,500 member hospitals qualified for the 30% discount, while most will collect a price cut of a penny.
Nitropress lowers blood pressure while Isuprel is used to treat irregular heartbeats and heart attacks.
It’s not the first time a pharmaceutical company has failed to, or heavily delayed following through on a promise to lower drug prices. Turing Pharmaceuticals, once headed by infamous hedge funder Martin Shkreli, pledged to cut prices by the end of 2015. As of Thursday, a 25 mg pill of HIV drug Daraprim is roughly $815 in New York.
During the February hearing before Congress, Valeant also made other promises to discount the price of its products. That includes an average 10% discount on branded dermatology, ophthalmology, and women’s health products, as well as a 95% reduction on certain products that have a generic alternative.