Washington, D.C. (Mar. 10, 2016)—Today, Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings sent a letter asking Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson to explain why his company is withholding documents from the Committee as part of its investigation into the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.
Cummings first sent a letter to Pearson on August 14, 2015, seeking documents about dramatic price increases for two heart medications, Isuprel and Nitropress, by 525% and 212%. The company refused to provide any documents, writing in a letter on September 3, 2015, that they "are highly proprietary and confidential."
On January 6, 2016, Cummings and Chaffetz sent a joint letter seeking many of these documents prior to a hearing with Valeant executives on February 4, 2016. At the hearing, Cummings criticized the company, stating that its previous refusals to provide documents "obstructed our ability to investigate their actions." Cummings also issued a memo detailing how the documents obtained by the Committee show that Valeant "sought to exploit this temporary monopoly by increasing prices dramatically to extremely high levels."
On February 3, 2016, Pearson's counsel wrote to the Committee revealing that Valeant had produced to the Committee only "nonprivileged" documents, while withholding an unknown number of additional documents responsive to the Committee's request. Since then, Pearson's counsel has declined to provide additional information about the documents being withheld.
Today's letter from Chaffetz and Cummings asks Pearson to provide a detailed privilege log including: "(1) a description of each document you have withheld; (2) the total number of pages of each document you have withheld; and (3) the reason you have withheld each document." They asked for this information by March 23.
"Based on the information you provide in response to this request," Chaffetz and Cummings wrote, "the Committee will be able to evaluate the basis for your decision to withhold these documents and determine whether, and to what extent, such documents should be provided."
To date, Pearson has also failed to provide transcribed interviews with Valeant executives and documents requested by Cummings on November 16, 2015, and December 15, 2015, regarding allegations about Valeant's relationship with Philidor Rx Services, a mail-order "phantom" pharmacy that Valeant reportedly used to mask its price increases and circumvent the traditional insurance reimbursement process, as well as the company's compliance with federal securities laws.