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    Valeant business practices embroiled in controversy

    Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., is a publicly traded multinational specialty drug pharmaceutical company based in Laval, Canada. Valeant is known for its unique core growth strategy that is driven almost exclusively through acquisition of other companies. This, coupled with increases in the prices of drugs it has acquired, has led to its tremendous financial success.

    Ned MilenkovichSince 2010, more than 100 completed acquisitions have transformed Valeant into one of Canada’s most valuable companies and the largest pharmaceutical company in the nation. In 2015, Valeant’s market value topped $100 billion. However, in 2015, Valeant eventually became embroiled in controversy that has decreased its market value by more than 70%.

    The back story

    Valeant’s main disease treatment markets include neurology, dermatology, and infectious disease. The controversy began in January 2015 when a numerical lot of ribavirin, used primarily to treat hepatitis C and viral hemorrhagic fevers, was found to be contaminated. Valeant undertook a voluntary nationwide recall, as FDA noted in a press release.

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    After this, in September 2015, Valeant came under severe criticism for exponentially increasing the prices of drugs it sent to the marketplace. According to a Deutsche Bank analyst*, in 2015 alone, the company increased prices on its brand-name drugs by an average of 66%, five times more than increases set by its closest industry competitor. 

    Following these increases, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform urged the Committee chairman to subpoena Valeant for documents connected to price increases for two heart medications, Nitropress and Isuprel, increases of 212% and 525%, respectively. 

    Later, in October 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued subpoenas to Valeant regarding the price increases.

    Ned Milenkovich, PharmD, JD
    This article is not intended as legal advice and should not be used as such. When legal questions arise, pharmacists should consult with ...


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