Valeant Pharmaceuticals faced no shortage of arguments in the long dark night of controversy that's wreaked havoc on its stock price. Now, a new dispute is brewing with Johnson & Johnson over talc lawsuits both companies now face.
Valeant picked up rights to J&J’s Shower to Shower talc powder back in 2012, according to a 10-K filing, and now faces dozens of lawsuits claiming the products caused plaintiffs to develop ovarian cancer, among other health problems. Speaking to investors and analysts earlier this month, CEO Joseph Papa said “it is our belief that J&J has obligations to pay for our legal defense and to indemnify Valeant.”
Wells Fargo analyst David Maris recently wrote that Valeant faces 33 talc suits as of its last 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, noting that the “number has been growing.” A J&J spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Papa's claim.
As industry-watchers are aware, J&J faces thousands of cases over its talc powders, reporting on its last 10-K that the number has grown to about 3,100. The New Jersey drug giant recently lost a record $110 million verdict in St. Louis after previous defeats worth $72 million, $55 million and $70 million, respectively.
Still, J&J maintains its products are safe and plans to appeal. At the time of the most recent defeat, a spokesperson said a previous victory in St. Louis and two in New Jersey “highlight the lack of credible scientific evidence behind plaintiffs’ allegations."
Valeant shelled out more than $150 million for rights to Shower-to-Shower and other OTC products, with transactions worth $41.9 million for various markets outside of North America and $107.3 million for U.S. and Canada, according to its 2012 10-K.
The deals were among a series of acquisitions the Canadian drugmaker used to bulk up during its growth spurt, before pricing and legal scrutiny brought some questionable practices to light. Since July 2015, the company’s stock has lost about 95% of its value as troubles have mounted.
Now, Valeant is looking to pay off a pile of debt while it faces insider trading and class action lawsuits, plus several investigations.