October 15, 2015 / 7:59 AM / 3 years ago

Valeant subpoenaed by US prosecutors over drug pricing concerns

Oct 15 (Reuters) - Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said it was subpoenaed by U.S. prosecutors seeking information on its pricing decisions, drug distribution and patient assistance programs.

Valeant, under fire for steeply raising its drug prices, said it recently received the subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Valeant is reviewing the subpoenas and intends to cooperate with the investigations, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company said it also responded to a letter from U.S. Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill concerning Valeant’s heart drugs Nitropress and Isuprel. Valeant had tripled Isuprel’s price and raised Nitropress price more than six times after buying them in February.

In the letter to McCaskill, Chief Executive Michael Pearson said the company hired a consultant to review the two drugs' pricing and reimbursement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier. (on.wsj.com/1RJugJ7)

The consultant found that “there was considerable room to increase the price of both drugs without unduly depleting the funds available to the hospitals from payers” even after price increases, the letter added, according to the Journal.

Massachusetts Attorney’s office, Southern District of New York Attorney’s office and Valeant could not be reached for comment outside business hours.

In September, Valeant came under attack by all 18 Democratic members of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform who urged their chairman to subpoena Valeant to provide documents relating to its drugs prices.

Valeant shares closed at C$229.08 on Wednesday, down 15 percent since it opened at C$263.13 on Sept. 28 when it came under the Democratic lawmakers’ onslaught. (Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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