Valeant forms internal committee to oversee drug pricing

Thu May 5, 2016 6:04pm EDT
 
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May 5 (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc , which has acknowledged mistakes in its drug pricing practices amid U.S. congressional probes, said on Thursday it has formed a new committee to oversee pricing of the company's drugs.

The Patient Access and Pricing Committee will initially be chaired by Joseph Papa, Valeant's new chairman and chief executive officer. The committee is made up of a team of Valeant employees including doctors, scientists and other executives.

Valeant said that, among other issues, the committee will review the pricing of Nitropress, Isuprel, Cuprimine and Syprine - four products at the center of a hearing last week before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Valeant raised the price of Isuprel by about 720 percent and Nitropress by 310 percent, after acquiring the heart medications in 2015. Prices of the other two drugs, used to treat a genetic disorder that causes copper to build up in the body's organs, were raised by 5,878 percent and 3,162 percent, respectively.

"Valeant has made mistakes in how it priced its drugs in the past, and we are committed to ensuring those mistakes are not repeated," CEO Papa said in a statement. "This new committee will take a disciplined approach to reviewing the company's pricing of drugs, and will consider the impact on patients, doctors, and our health care industry partners."

The company said that since last week's hearing, it has reached out to hospitals to follow up on concerns raised that they had not received expected discounts on Nitropress and Isuprel.

Valeant, whose share price has plunged almost 90 percent since August, has about $30 billion of debt and has been negotiating with creditors, some of whom issued notices of default after it missed a deadline for the filing of its financial results. (Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; Editing by Matthew Lewis)