Senator slaps Valeant for sparse response on pricing decisions

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill

Earlier this month, Valeant ($VRX) responded to a letter from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), defending its price hikes on a pair of heart meds. But McCaskill says that response left much to be desired.

In a letter to company CEO J. Michael Pearson on Monday, McCaskill said Valeant's response provided "limited information" on the revenue its generated from hefty price increases on Isuprel and Nitropress, drugs it bought early this year from Marathon Pharmaceuticals

And the other info McCaskill requested--total expenses associated with the drugs, contracts related to the purchase of their APIs, dates and amounts of specific price tweaks, and so on? Valeant straight up left that out.

"Your failure to provide a complete response to my requests is deeply disappointing," she wrote.

McCaskill isn't done probing the Canadian pharma, either. "It is my intention to continue investigating Valeant's drug pricing policies," she wrote--as well as recent allegations that the company used its relationships with specialty pharmacies to create "phantom sales" that inflated its top line. Going forward, she hopes the drugmaker is a bit more willing "to respond to my inquiries in a substantive and forthright way."

Meanwhile, lawmakers aren't the only ones demanding more info from the Quebecois company. On Monday, it disclosed a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice, regarding payments and agreements between its Bausch + Lomb division and medical professionals over eye-surgery products. That subpoena, issued last month, is connected to the government's criminal investigation into possible violations of federal healthcare laws, the DOJ said.

The B&L news follows Valeant's announcement about separate subpoenas from two U.S. attorneys' offices, with most of the requested materials related to Valeant's pricing decisions, and patient assistance and financial support programs.

- read McCaskill's letter (PDF)
- see Valeant's regulatory filing

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