U.S. House Democrats to seek testimony from Valeant in coming weeks

Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:00am EST
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By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON Dec 16 (Reuters) - Democrats on a U.S. House of Representatives panel are planning to call Valeant Pharmaceuticals Chief Executive Michael Pearson to testify in early 2016 about steep price hikes for some of the company's drugs, a Democratic aide said.

The hearing before the House Oversight Committee could be held as early as late January as part of an ongoing probe into skyrocketing drug prices, a Republican committee aide said.

The Republican majority sets the agenda for the committee and gets to decide which witnesses to call, but the Democratic minority is typically allowed to select at least one witness of their choice.

On Tuesday, Republican Chairman Jason Chaffetz and other lawmakers sent the FDA a letter inquiring about the process for reviewing generic drugs as part of the ongoing investigation.

The letter specifically references the biotechnology firm KaloBios, which was recently acquired by Turing CEO Martin Shkreli.

A Republican committee aide told Reuters that the panel has been talking to a number of pharmaceutical companies as part of the probe, but Republicans have not yet decided which they will summon to testify.

Valeant and Turing Pharmaceuticals have been under mounting U.S. government scrutiny over their practice of acquiring off-patent drugs and drastically hiking the prices.

Last week, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging kicked off a series of hearings designed to investigate the causes behind drastic drug price increases.   Continued...