UPDATE 2-Documents show profit-seeking behind price hikes at Turing, Valeant

Tue Feb 2, 2016 2:04pm EST
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(Adds Turing comment)

By Sarah N. Lynch and Caroline Humer

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK Feb 2 (Reuters) - A decision by Turing Pharmaceuticals to increase profits by raising the price of a lifesaving drug by 5,000 percent drove some patient co-pays up to $16,000, according to excerpts of documents that congressional committee members made public on Tuesday.

The excerpts, highlighted in memos released by Democrats on the powerful U.S. House of Representatives Committee in Oversight and Government Reform, give a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the business decisions behind drastic price increases at Turing and Canada-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.

The increases sparked a major public outcry. Both companies now face federal investigations over drug pricing.

The document excerpts show how Valeant bought two heart medicines for their "material pricing potential." The company increased the price of Isuprel by 525 percent and Nitropress, by 212 percent.

The documents also suggest Valeant hiked the prices of another 20 drugs by more than 200 percent between 2014 and 2015.

In a statement, Valeant said it had responded to complaints about pricing by offering volume-based discounts of up to 30 percent.

Turing said in a statement it cut the price of Daraprim by up to 50 percent for hospitals. It said it used the funds from the price increase for research and development and patient access programs.   Continued...