Actelion Chief Pledges Caution on Drug Prices After U.S. Turmoil

  • Some drugmakers `behaved badly,' dragging others in their wake
  • Independence isn't a given, but Actelion hasn't gotten offers
Jean-Paul Clozel, chief executive officer of Actelion Ltd.
Jean-Paul Clozel, chief executive officer of Actelion Ltd.
Source: Actelion Ltd.

Actelion Ltd.’s Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Clozel pledged to be cautious when it comes to pricing the Swiss drugmaker’s new lung medicine and said he hopes the few extreme examples that captured headlines in recent weeks "will disappear."

Some drugmakers “have been behaving badly and we’re all being put in the same basket, unfortunately,” Clozel said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Prices have to be set very carefully."

Clozel’s comments come one day after Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., whose pricing practices are under scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers and prosecutors, indicated it might alter its strategy, focusing less on acquisitions that depend on buying old treatments and raising their prices.

Co-founded almost two decades ago by Clozel and his wife, Actelion itself has been the subject of speculation that it’s a takeover target. Clozel in the interview reiterated that the Allschwil, Switzerland-based drugmaker has not received any offers.

"We have not been approached," he said. Yet "independence is not a given. You have to fight to operationally deliver, and it’s tough." Actelion is well position to go it alone, he said. He declined to comment on possible negotiations to buy ZS Pharma Inc.

Actelion shares surged 3.4 percent to 129.50 Swiss francs at 9:26 a.m. in Zurich after the company raised its raised its 2015 earnings forecast.

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