UPDATE 1-Valeant asks CEO Pearson to cooperate with U.S. Senate committee

Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:32am EDT
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April 11 (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said on Monday it had asked outgoing Chief Executive Michael Pearson to cooperate with the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging after he failed to show up at a hearing on Friday.

The committee has said it may start contempt proceedings against Pearson after he didn't respond to a subpoena to appear for a deposition related to an investigation into drug pricing.

The committee hearing, scheduled for April 27, comes as the Canadian drugmaker faces a number of U.S. investigations into its aggressive pricing strategy as well as its accounting practices.

Valeant grew quickly under Pearson as it went on an acquisition spree, buying up other drugmakers and - in many cases - sharply hiking prices of their drugs.

But the company has lost favor with investors since late last year as its strategy came under scrutiny from regulators, the public and politicians.

"The board understands that Mr. Pearson is in dialogue with the Senate Committee on Aging regarding his deposition and that those discussions are ongoing," Valeant said.

Pearson is due to step down as Valeant's CEO as soon as a replacement is found - possibly in the next few weeks. Pearson returned to Valeant at the end of February after two months of medical leave while he was being treated for pneumonia.

The Senate committee is one of two congressional bodies looking into aggressive prescription drug pricing.   Continued...