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

Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:15am EST
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By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON Nov 16 (Reuters) - The top Democrat on a U.S. House of Representatives investigative panel is requesting interviews with a handful of executives at Valeant who were directly involved in the operations of specialty pharmacy Philidor, according to a Nov 16 letter seen by Reuters.

In the 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."

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.

The email, reviewed by Reuters, was sent to Tanner and Patel, who both used pseudonyms for their communications within Philidor. Reuters also reported that Pritchett was involved in building relationships with specialty pharmacies.

Valeant first disclosed its ties to Philidor late last month, amid concerns over the pharmacy's tactics to get insurers to pay for Valeant medications. It has since severed ties with the pharmacy, saying it has "lost confidence" in Philidor after questions about its business practices.   Continued...