October 27, 2015 / 1:45 PM / 3 years ago

FTC looking at Valeant's contact lens dealings - ProPublica

Oct 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is looking into whether Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc illegally cornered the market for a key material used to make rigid contact lenses, ProPublica reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Valeant said on Monday it had received a letter from the FTC on or about Oct. 16 seeking more information about Valeant’s recent acquisition of Paragon Vision Sciences, which produceses a material used to make gas permeable lenses.

ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism, quoted the president of an industry trade group as saying the acquisition of Paragon and Bausch & Lomb had given Valeant control over 85 to 90 percent of the supply chain for such lenses. [bit.ly/1jNZTWP ]

Valeant said earlier this month that it had been subpoenaed by U.S. prosecutors seeking information on its pricing decisions, drug distribution and patient assistance programs.

The company has come under intense scrutiny for increasing drug prices. The New York Times also reported last week that Valeant and other drugmakers were using specialty drug distributors to circumvent barriers to raise prices.

Valeant’s shares went into a tailspin last week after short-seller Citron Research said Valeant was using specialty pharmacies to inflate its revenue.

The company denied the allegation and asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to look into Citron.

Valeant’s U.S.-listed shares were up 1.4 percent at $111.64 in early trading on Tuesday. Up to Monday’s close, the stock had lost about 38 percent of its value since Oct. 14 when the company disclosed that it had received a federal subpoena.

The company’s Toronto-listed stock was up 1 percent at C$146.78. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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