Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., located in Quebec, has currently been under fire since the news broke about their drug price hikes to two lifesaving heart medications: Isuprel or Isoprenaline and Nitropress. However, Marathon Pharmaceuticals held the rights of these medications before Valeant, under Marathon Pharmaceuticals there were gradual increases in price over the past three years, by 2,500 percent (Isuprel) and 1,700 percent (Nitropress) (CBC, 2015). Valeant International Inc. became exposed when the democrats of the U.S House of Committee issued Valeant to a Subpoena to hand other their documents (Chen & Koons, 2015). These two medications used to be owed by Marathon Pharmaceuticals, until Valeant purchased the rights to them in February 2015 (CBC, 2015). It was not until Valeant got their hands on these medications that both drugs increased four to six times more in price (CBC, 2015). Since the drug prices increased and public scrutiny, Valeant’s shares are slowly deteriorating, with shares falling 17 percent (Chen & Koons, 2015).
This is not Valeant’s first time under public scrutiny. In late 2013, Valeant announced the price increase of Syprine, a medication that treats Wilson’s disease. It was set to be priced at $13,244 for a one month’s supply (CBC, 2015).This caused a huge amount of distress and financial hardships for many patients who are depended on this medication. On a regular day, patients take up to 3 to 4 pills, a month supply may not last long for patients (CBC, 2015). Valeant decided to reduce the price, likely because of the push back from doctors to reduce the prices (CBC, 2015). For patients with Wilson’s disease they would have had to pay $200,000 a year, this is to manage or cure this disease (CBC, 2015).
Valeant became of interest to the Democrats, whom proposed a subpoena, when the case of Martin Shkeli arose. Shkeli is the CEO of the pharmaceutical company, Turing. Shkeli hiked the price of an aids antibiotic from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill (Chen & Koons, 2015). This antibiotic is decades old, it was not until Shkeli purchased the rights that the price spiked (Chen & Koons, 2015). Hillary Clinton spoke of the matter of drug price increases, calling them “outrageous” (Shufelt, 2015).
The Subpoena to Valeant International all started with a letter to Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the U.S House’s Committee, written by 18 Democrats (Chen & Koons, 2015). The Democrats wrote about oversight and Government regulations on drug price hikes. They focused on the fact that the prices of Nitropress and Isuprel increased by 212 percent and 525 percent since acquired by Valeant (Chen & Koons, 2015). In this letter to the chairman, they stated “[b]oth (Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Martin Shkeli) appear to be engaging in the same business model of acquiring potentially life-saving drugs to maximize their own corporate profits” (Chen, 2015). Valent will be under fire for quite some time because of not only public scrutiny but also unethical morality in the eyes of the public sphere.
CBC News (2015, September, 29th) Valeant Pharamaeuticals’ Drug Price Hikes in Crosshairs of U.S Congress. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/valeant-pharmaceuticals-price-hikes-1.3248265
Chen,C. & Koons, C. (2015, September, 28th).Valeant Plummets After Democrats Seek Subpoena on Drug Price Hikes. Bloomberg Business. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-28/valeant-plummets-as-democrats-seek-subpoena-on-drug-price-hikes
Shufelt, T.(2015, September, 29th). Valeant Shares Tumble as U.S Targets Drug Price Hikes. The Globe and Mail.http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/valeant-shares-tumble-as-us-targets-drug-price-hikes/article26578119/