Clinton targets Valeant price hikes in campaign appearance

Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:11pm EST
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By Deena Beasley

(Reuters) - Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.N: Quote) fell on Thursday after the campaign of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton posted a blog from an Iowa event detailing exorbitant price hikes for a migraine drug made by the company.

At an Iowa town hall over the weekend, Clinton read from a letter saying that the list price for 10 vials of migraine drug D.H.E. 45 had increased to more than $14,000 in December, compared with just over $3,000 in June of 2014.

"This is predatory pricing. It is unjustified. It is wrong," Clinton said, according to the post.

Officials at Valeant did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Shares of Valeant fell nearly 9 percent to close at $86.12 on the New York Stock Exchange. More than 3 million shares of Valeant traded in the last hour of trading; total volume on the day was 7.9 mln shares.

Valeant, based in Canada, has been under pressure since last year as cracks appeared in its business model of acquiring older drugs, steeply increasing their U.S. price, and using aggressive methods to overcome insurer barriers to reimbursing its medicines.

D.H.E. 45, or dihydroergotamine, is a generic, injectable analgesic.

Clinton, fellow Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, and Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump have hammered away at drug costs in recent months, raising investor concerns that future price cuts could hurt pharmaceutical and biotech companies.   Continued...

Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Cedar Falls, Iowa, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking