Aiming for redemption, Valeant reveals new drug pricing committee

Joe Papa

Valeant ($VRX) has admitted that it messed up--big time--when it comes to drug pricing. The company doesn’t want history to repeat itself, so as it remakes itself under a new leader it’s launching an internal committee to oversee its pricing decisions.

Valeant’s Patient Access and Pricing Committee, led by new CEO Joe Papa, will comprise a team of employees including doctors, scientists and execs. Committee members will look specifically at pricing for Nitropress, Isuprel, Cuprimine and Syprine, the company said in a statement. Valeant came under fire last week at a Senate hearing for raising prices for the four meds.

“Valeant has made mistakes in how it priced its drugs in the past, and we are committed to ensuring those mistakes are not repeated,” Papa said in a statement. “This new committee will take a disciplined approach to reviewing the company’s pricing of drugs, and will consider the impact on patients, doctors and our health care industry partners.”

Last week, Valeant’s head honchos caught flak at a Senate hearing on drug pricing. Members of the Senate Special Committee on Aging lambasted the company for dramatic price hikes, including those for cardio meds Isuprel and Nitropress. Valeant has jacked up prices for those two drugs by 525% and 212%, respectively.

Instead of arguing with lawmakers, the company decided to repent. “We have made mistakes,” Pearson said at the hearing. “Valeant was too aggressive. And I, as a leader, was too aggressive.”

Now, the company is trying to get on the road to redemption. Valeant’s largest shareholder and new board member Bill Ackman said at the hearing that the company should roll out “socially responsible pricing” for meds.

The Canadian pharma since the hearing has also reached out to hospitals to address complaints that they did not get expected discounts on Nitropress and Isuprel, it said in a statement. Valeant “will continue to work with hospitals to ensure they have access to the two drugs,” the company said.

Meanwhile, the company is trying to clean up shop elsewhere. Valeant over the past few weeks has switched up its board and filed its overdue annual report. With new leadership at the helm and some progress underway, the company could be poised for a much-needed turnaround.

"I am pleased that Valeant is making good progress toward restoring the public's confidence and that the company has hired a great leader with an impressive track record of achievements and an impeccable reputation," Chairman Robert Ingram said in a statement last week. "We are excited for Valeant's next chapter and believe that the board is well-equipped to oversee a successful turnaround under Joe Papa's leadership."

- read Valeant’s statement

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