U.S. congressman seeks interviews with Valeant employees tied to Philidor

Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:35pm EST
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By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Democrat on a U.S. House of Representatives investigative panel is requesting interviews with a handful of executives at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO: Quote) (VRX.N: Quote) who were directly involved in the operations of specialty pharmacy Philidor, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

In the Nov. 16 letter, House Oversight Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings asks Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson to make employees Gary Tanner, Bijal Patel, and Alison Pritchett available for "transcribed" interviews.

"Troubling new allegations suggest that a group of Valeant employees helped launch Philidor’s business in 2013 and have remained involved in its daily operations," Cummings wrote.

"These allegations suggest that Valeant employees may have been personally involved in questionable billing practices that led Valeant to cut ties with Philidor last month."

Valeant is reviewing the letter and will respond, Valeant spokeswoman Laurie Little said in an e-mailed statement.

"As we have said previously, Valeant’s board of directors has formed an ad hoc committee to review allegations related to the company’s business relationship with Philidor and related matters."

Cummings' letter comes just a few days after Reuters reported about how several top Valeant employees worked closely with the founders of Philidor Rx Services to set up the business and expand its operations.

Two Valeant employees, for instance, were copied on a November 2014 email which contained an attachment explaining how Philidor employees could bill the highest amount an insurance company was willing to pay by resubmitting rejected claims at different price points.   Continued...

The headquarters of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., seen in Laval, Quebec November 9 2015.   REUTERS/Christinne Muschi